Dante Elephante, Jan. 23, Neurolux 

A heavy dose of sunshine

The cover of Dante Elephante's sophomore LP, Anglo-Saxon Summer (Lollipop Records, 2015), promised heavy doses of sunshine. The album title and band name, floating on a field of sun-bleached pink, are in Cooper Black, the same font made famous on The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and even the band describes its music as "surf-rock." But this is all misleading.

Dante Elephante sounds less like Dick Dale or Jan and Dean, and more like a beloved Felt or Smiths cassette left on a car dashboard in the middle of August. Anglo-Saxon Summer has plenty of toe-tappers, like "Never Trust a Junkie" and "Twin Lakes." However, while producer Jonathan Rado (Foxygen) provided a lo-fi, California texture, singer-songwriter Ruben Zarate is a melancholy-romantic with a Nikki Sudden-esque voice and a Morrissey lisp. The contrast makes Dante Elephante one of the more interesting bands to come out of the Southern California indie/garage-rock explosion, and the band's new LP is a reminder that summer holds just as much woe and heartbreak as winter, but the warmth of the sun makes it tolerable.


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