Peter Elkas – Music-Critic Review


Peter Elkas Repeat Offender
By Greg Hutton

Journeyman singer/songwriter/session musician Peter Elkas delivers a welcome injection of soul into Canadian indie-rock with his latest, Repeat Offender. Clocking in at a brisk 37 minutes, the album is full of well-crafted pop-rock songs that would not sound out of place on an oldies radio station. Although Elkas’s pop, rock and soul influences are all familiar, an underlying vitality and originality underscores the album. Taken together, this creates a dichotomy where an original listening experience also elicits nostalgia for childhood road trips listening to radio hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Elkas’s influences reveal themselves song by song. For instance, the combination of horns, ‘she-bop she-bops,’ and sparing accented stabs of guitar on opener “Anticipation” is reminiscent of Sam Cooke. Likewise, the opening riff of “Cruel Thing to Do” has a distinct Motown meets the Stones feel. Its sister song and album closer “Cool Thing To Do” includes a similar vibe, and provides a sharp bit of storytelling amongst prominent horns. It is important to stress that Elkas is not merely aping other artists, but instead demonstrates a mastery of imbuing older styles of songwriting with an innovative perspective.

Although many of the album’s songs look to the past for influences, its title track can be placed in a contemporary indie setting. Gone are the horns, piano and doo-wop, replaced instead by a prominent, drum-driven rhythm section that allows the percussion to come to the fore instead of being relegated to the background. Floating backing vocals provide a nice contrast to Elkas’s croon in the chorus, and a reverb-heavily lead guitar line that could almost be called a guitar solo closes. The short change of pace provided by “Repeat Offender” helps situate the album’s release date in the current decade without compromising its spirit overall.

The obvious enthusiasm Peter Elkas has for eras both current and bygone shines through on Repeat Offender, and makes for an ultimately enjoyable listen. 4/5