Call for Music Critics and Essayists: If you're a smart, historically-minded music critic or essayist, let your voice be heard by our quality readership.
Call for Music Critics and Essayists: If you're a smart, historically-minded music critic or essayist, let your voice be heard by our quality readership.
APPLY HERE APPLY HERE
APPLY HERE APPLY HERE
Mark and Elliott

Elliott Page and Mark Rendall Break Out the Omnichord to Spread Joy

The eponymous three-song EP Mark and Elliott is simply the most fun, upbeat musical way possible to end off a summer we all desperately needed.

Mark and Elliott
Elliott Page and Mark Randell
Independent
27 August 2021

Of course, Elliott Page read our minds. Of course, he realized we needed a “lo-fi bedroom pop adventure” to bid the summer adieu in style. And then of course he recorded it with Canadian actor Mark Rendall and released it on Bandcamp for free. Because that’s what Elliott Page, a multi-award-winning millennial Renaissance man, does.

The eponymous three-song EP Mark and Elliott is simply the most fun, upbeat musical way possible to end off a summer we all desperately needed. In fact, I’m pretty sure these three catchy tunes – recorded simply with vocals and an omnichord – will linger in my playlist well into the fall. The happy-go-lucky vocal harmonies and unpretentious musical backdrops are perfectly balanced to keep up a lingering summer insouciance amid the cooling autumnal breeze. What better way to enter the Labour Day weekend?

“One Way Track”, a lyrical duet with jaunty harmonics, is what you sing as you’re packing up the gear for your Labour Day camping trip. This is no down-tempo shoe-gaze lo-fi; it’s upbeat, head-swaying jollity at its best.

“Desert Holes” is my fave, and it’s the brooding, spectral tune you want coming from your headphones as you sit by the lake, gazing at the sunset reflected in rippling waters. It’s haunting and introspective, Page’s voice a perfect complement to the poignant simplicity of the tune. “Am I just another you used to love?”

“Summer Summer” goes on repeat in the car, around the bonfire, and everywhere you’re singing with friends. The simple beats and upbeat twang of Page and Rendall singing in unison is simply the happiest song you’ve heard all summer.

Bedroom pop is just the latest catch-phrase for the oldest musical style in the (electronic) book; that lo-tech DIY style in which you recorded your debut masterpiece back in high school on a borrowed four-track. Thank goodness Mark and Elliott remembered, and thank goodness someone had an ‘80s-style Omnichord kicking around in the closet.

I remember when this sort of upbeat lo-fi bedroom pop was a thing when we danced around our rooms without a care in the world. Then the world went dark, fascist populism spread its shadow and ten-second TikTok videos became the arbiter of good taste.

Thankfully Elliott and Mark don’t care. They’re still singing and dancing with a breezy lightheartedness, pumping batteries into the Omnichord like there’s no tomorrow. Not that they haven’t been touched by the difficult world in which we presently live. But their bedroom pop adventure reminds us that music is still here to lighten our load and make such times easier to bear.

I’ll still cringe every time I wander out the door and into a world where variant viruses, virulent anti-Vaxxers, transphobic bigots, and automated Tesla zombie cars could be lurking around any corner. But I’ll put on my headphones, scroll down to Mark and Elliott, crank up the volume and skip out into the midst of it with a lighter step.

“Happy summer, summer forever,” I’ll sing into the badness, taking my lo-fi bedroom pop adventure with me everywhere that I go.

Thank you, Mark and Elliott.

PopMatters