The Elected Biography
Los Angeles, California boasts some of the most transcendent sunsets on Planet Earth. Beatific, swirling miasmas of deep color culled from some distant, holy palette. But before we get carried away, it’s important to remember that the sunsets of Los Angeles would be nothing without the thousands of noxious chemicals that blanket the greater San Fernando region. L. A. sunsets look that way because of the smog.
This is perhaps the most telling piece of ephemeral trivia about Los Angeles, which is, arguably, the most reviled city in the country. There IS beauty here, hiding amongst the rows of stretch Hummer limousines and gargantuan saline breast implants. But it is a complicated beauty, one born of an incredibly unique environment and one that flourishes against all odds.
The Elected have taken some of these cosmic contradictions that fuel Los Angeles and made a record that is simultaneously timeless in its themes and incredibly personal and specific in its execution. Grand anthems give way to delicate and unambiguous reflections on love and loss. Ultimately, The Elected have made a record of complicated beauty.
Music-geeks and cultural historians have made a lot of noise throughout the years about the fabled sunny-‘60s “California Sound” embodied by psychedelic wild-west harmonies and ocean-soaked pop. Of course, the history of the true California sound is far more bleak – from Gram Parsons’ legendary desert cremation; to David Crosby snorting literal mountains of coke up his nose in Laurel Canyon; to Brian Wilson going into a surreal hibernation after a complete meltdown.
In spirit and sound, The Elected carry on in the tradition of this true California sound, where beauty is complicated and nothing can be taken at face value. They trade in the realm of songs that somehow manage to sound simultaneously timeless and like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Singer/guitarist Blake Sennett is also the co-singer/songwriter of Rilo Kiley, and his songs on Me First are like anecdotes told between friends on car trips, or loaded late-night confessions, or handwritten letters from estranged loved ones. With his backing band (Mike Bloom on lead guitar, Daniel Brummell on bass, and Jason Boesel on drums) the songs become epic sagas of haunting beauty. They are snapshots gone widescreen; whispers in surround-sound.
One day this past week, I took a walk around my neighborhood. I chose The Elected album on my iPod, and wandered around. And then the sun started to set, smearing rich swatches of unearthly magenta and gold across the sky. As I paused to admire it, a passing bus exhaled a thick cloud of jet-black carbon monoxide right in my face. I coughed, and laughed, and The Elected was the perfect soundtrack for it.