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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Elska (New York)

Middle of Nowhere

Review by Larry Toering

This is an eclectic artist with an eclectic release that besides its pop leanings would otherwise be difficult to categorize. That is, other than to say it is steeped heavily in electronica. Either way this music doesn't stack up well with me without noting such a prog element that it gets that tag here. Being that Elska is from Iceland, perhaps it accounts for some of the extremely original tunes here, in all of their abstract glory. It's a lovely disc full of catchy tunes either way you slice them. There is an overall delicate mixture of all that is to be found here, and it certainly goes beyond that of anything mainstream. Still, it does have that mainstream element, but without it really being forced or deliberate. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
I Just Had An Idea
As the title explains, Elska just has an idea, and it doesn't go beyond that point in getting any message across. It is well explained in the lyrics, and leaves nothing more to describe, other than it contains the same type of melodies of which this disc is chock full.
Winter Bear
This is a substantially better track which features an electric xylophone that pretty much dominates the entire track with zeal.
Don't Make Fun of the Coobler
It doesn't get any more oddly perfect than this little hip hop influenced track. It's about as strange as the title suggests, but it done so well that it can't be denied in its otherwise silly approach.
Arctic Fox
This is even more abstract but not as odd in the overall outcome. It's a pretty little tune that has as much going for it as the previous tracks, but does end rather abruptly. Still, it surely demands extra spins for full effect.
The Land of Lost Socks
This is clearly one of the most interesting pieces and it’s one of the most satisfyingly abstact so far. I’d have to say that it’s totally amazing.
Click Click
This reaches pretty far for subject matter, and finds itself all about taking photos from a camera, and “click click” being the proverbial landing point. It’s not one of the best tracks on the disc, but somehow belonging nevertheless.
Man-Made Hole
Out of every abstract idea displayed here, this has to be the biggest effort in getting there. Once again it finds its place right where it belongs with the rest of these unorthodox but very convincing tunes. Like the others it goes by so fast that you can't think of anything else to do but push “repeat.”
In the Middle of Nowhere
I'm sure the thread all comes together here, as this seems to be where they all meet so far, and it's a refreshing tune for sure. I love how the song just hypnotizes. It succeeds in being the focal point of this disc, if anything else, so I would definitely call it “a highlight.”
Hiddi Hiddi
This is just a bunch of abstract rhymes that cruise along nicely with the title, and serve as a catchy in-between hook for its surrounding numbers.
Midnight Sun In The Arctic
This has more of that highlight appeal to it, as another one of the more abstract based tunes with good storytelling added to it. That helps the entire concept along very well.
The Elska Express
A lovely chime is featured around a trip on the island of Elska, and another beautifully hypnotic little number is delivered with sheer perfection. How dreamy this is!
Frozen In Time
After an album that is otherwise practically alien sounding but somehow mainstream in overall appeal, here things close with probably the most straight forward number on offer. It completely works in the end, with an effortless feel to it all. This album remains compelling throughout, and this tracks helps it do so all the more.


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