Just what the heck are “Root Beer Shoes”? I assume they’re going to be brown, maybe suede like a classic Hush Puppy. I don’t know though. I once saw a woman with ultra high platform shoes with live goldfish swimming around inside. Whatever they are, Renee LoBue is a little bit obsessed with them. She wrote a song pleading for a good man to please wear “Root Beer Shoes”. That song appears on Elk City’s new album, Everybody’s Insecure and it was the hook that drew me in.
On first listening, I thought Elk City were just another competent indie rock band. They write pretty songs that sort of float by without demanding too much attention. I hear a lot of nice music that doesn’t really grab my attention, but then the quirks started to emerge, things like those “Root Beer Shoes”. “No Depth” opens with a catchy guitar line that leads into a cynical song about the exploitation of young creative types. LoBue sings, “downtown they work for free because they bought into the myth.” As a freelance writer and photographer, I have lived that line.
Renee is aided and abetted by producer/drummer Ray Ketchem, former Luna guitarist Sean Eden, keyboardist Carl Baggaley and bassist Martin Olsen. As I mentioned at the top of this review, the music is lovely and, at least on initial listening, a bit Teflon. Everybody’s Insecure was made for repeated listening. Did she really just sing, “what if I said that you were dead?” They more I play the disc; the more the musical and lyrical nuances reveal themselves. Now, I’m digging lyrics about being as free as a sparrow, melodies carried by the bass, keyboard textures and tasty guitar licks. I remember what my first impression was, but I can’t hear that anymore. I’ve been seduced.