The Daily Cardinal – 28 February 2006

Elected’s genre-free victory.

The Elected recently released their second album, Sun, Sun, Sun, and it could not be a better example of their eclectic style. The first song, “Clouds Parting (8:14 a.m.),” is 44 seconds long and begins with chirping birds, followed by a synthesized harpsichord that leads into soft, ethereal guitar strumming that underlies five lines about a singing bird.

A track in the middle of the album, “Old Times,” is easy to breeze through without seeing its full value. At heart, it sounds like a classic Willie Nelson song: the lamenting look back at the past, the traditional horse-clopping rhythm and the twangy guitar. The background, however, quietly but efficiently envelops the song with slide guitars and vocal harmonies, cushioning the rudimentary tune with a velvet lining. This blending makes for a head-scratching but nonetheless enjoyable hybrid of old and new music.

The genre confusion comes from songs like these. Heavily relying on drum machines, sequencers and steel and acoustic guitars, it is hard to tell where The Elected see their roots. They could just as easily be playing in the tradition of Gram Parsons as they could be paying homage to their favorite ’60s pop artists. Blake Sennett, the force behind The Elected (who already has some notoriety from his association with Rilo Kiley), never seems to lose faith in his sparse sound—probably because songs like “It Was Love” and “The Bank and Trust” are able to be simultaneously sparse and incredibly lush and textured at the same time.