Garden Of Elks

A Distorted Sigh

(Song, By Toad)

For those who are fussy about the quality of the noise they listen to, "thrash pop" trio Garden Of Elks come with a decent pedigree: singer/guitarist Niall Strachan can otherwise be found howling with Bronto Skylift, while bassist Ryan Drever and drummer Paul Bannon keep themselves busy with, respectively, PAWS and Lady North. Don't dismiss Garden Of Elks as an afterthought to the day jobs, though: A Distorted Sigh might well edge ahead all of their other outfits' releases. There are a lot of influences floating on the surface of their music - heavy psychedelia (This Morning We Are Astronauts), indie pop jangle (Contented Contender), 1990s grunge (Smile), American hardcore (Wing) - but beneath them all is a post-punk virtuosity that keeps everything restlessly exciting. Even as Strachan puts the metal to the pedals for all sorts of guitar effects, the rhythm section powers forward, Drever's bass travelling like a theme-park rollercoaster, Bannon's drums thunderously solid. They're bloody marvellous live too.

Alan Morrison