Elk City describe themselves as a progressive art-pop collective and, despite hailing from New Jersey, you would not question it if I said they had all been born in an out of the way English country village with mysterious standing stones or a remote island; think Midwich or Summerisle.

Softly beaten drums and tremolo guitar guide us into the song which, at just under six minutes, allows the song to ebb and flow around the gentle charm of acoustic instruments and the grit of the electric. The band are Richard Baluyut– bass, Sean Eden and Chris Robertson on guitars, Ray Ketchem on drums and the mellow smoke of vocalist Renee LoBue who says:

‘Strong (You’re Not Alone)’ just may be the highest of heights we’ve reached as songwriting collaborators. A ‘non-single’ single, unapologetically present in its dream catcher-waving vibe. The least pop of pop songs on our upcoming Undertow LP, yet here it is, served up first: Sprawling, moody, nonsensical, captivating, and much like Rob Zombie sang: More Human than Human. Baby steps in believing in oneself. “Ooh, you never know what you’re made of till you climb the top.” Let this one guide you, heal you, inspire you, strengthen you. Hacky sacks optional. Also: It’s way cheaper than therapy.”

Ray Ketchem adds that it’s “an example of where we let the song forge our path. We observe, listen and follow where it leads, but we relinquish control in order to open the channels within ourselves“.

‘Strong’ weaves a wonderfully bucolic trance and I recommend checking out their 2022 album Above The Water as their new album Undertow is not out until this coming 22nd September.

The band have been kind enough to give Joyzine readers a first listen to the track, and look at the video, ahead of its release on 19 July. The video was directed, filmed and edited by band member Ray Ketchem and features the band on location at Eagle Rock Reservation and Kip’s Castle Park, Essex County NJ.

Elk City socials: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Bandcamp | Linktree


With a hush we move to make our way inside
When they all gather I question
-But who am I?
Mama, I don’t want to go
I been all takin’ it slow
But it is ok
I’m makin’ my way

You have to be strong the entire time
You have to be strong and pull on the line

When the light is gone we make our way
There is a feeling that I can’t explain anyhow
Oooh you never know what you’re made of ‘til
you climb the top
Oooh you never know what you’re made of
still you’re on the clock
Oooh you never know what you’re made ‘til
you make your way, be proud
Oooh you never know what you’re made of

Dance in circles
Wait a while, wait it’s born
Be in your time
Feel your way
Get it what you want
-from your life
‘Cuz it’s a beautiful life
It’s your life
Take a turn
Dance until your whole
You’re not alone

Runnin’ through woods
Feel the pull
Feel the branches touch who I am
Be on my best behavior
Though I really couldn’t say what I want
But it’s your life
It’s a beautiful life
Take a turn
Dance until your whole
You’re not alone

‘Cause it’s a beautiful life
It’s your life
Take a turn
Dance until your own
You’re not alone

Review by Paul F Cook

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