Toronto group the Elwins have just signed with Hidden Pony Records and the band has announced that a new album is coming out with the label in 2015. However, for the time being, and to celebrate its new signing, Hidden Pony is now reissuing the Elwins’ 2012 self-released album And I Thank You. If you missed this the first time around, the record is what you’d get if the Local Natives met Smith Westerns with a poppier sound, a ‘70s pop edge to things. Heck, there’s even a song here titled “Stuck in the Middle”, which is NOT a cover of the Stealers Wheel classic. “Are You Flying With a Different Bird?” starts with “sha-la-la”’s in the vocals. So some of this, too, is very closely related to bubblegum pop, and it even sounds like what you’d get if Burt Bacharach had ever joined forces with the Beach Boys to mine gold. Sure, there’s a fair bit to compare the Elwins to, and it says something that A) the group is generally able to pull this off and blend a wealth of influences into their own signature style and B) the band manages to have Canadian indie rock chic (jangly guitars, wistful singing) without necessarily sounding like a Canadian band of today.
Need more of a point of comparison? Well, the Elwins remind me of the High Dials from Montreal (and considering that a former member from that band is now part of Elephant Stone, which is, surprise, surprise, a Hidden Pony outfit) just without the overtly psychedelic touches. Also, listening to And I Thank You is akin to going through an old K-Tel record and hearing some of the more obscure pop ditties from the past. There’s a permeating feeling of nostalgia that wafts from this disc, which makes it so engaging. While And I Thank You doesn’t quite reach transcendental status, it’s quite likable and a great addition to your record collection. If you haven’t heard of these guys before, you’re in for quite the morsel, all the more appetizing knowing that something brand spankin’ new is coming right around the corner. Thank you, the Elwins, for making this record. We’re looking forward to the new one.