Friday, March 19; Rocket Bar

Mar 17, 2004 at 4:00 am
Diego Garcia is a unique artist in the realm of indie rock. He sings for a New York band, is a sharp dresser and has a name that makes him sound like a South American sophisticate or romance-novel hero, but none of this is what makes him unique. What sets Garcia and his band Elefant apart is his willingness to lyrically express love and its trappings in as blatant and pure a way as possible. While many other bands try to bury their feelings in the most obtuse word choices possible, Garcia just comes right out and says it. "Tell me your name/Tell me your story/Because I'm into it," he sings on "Misfit," but instead of sounding like a bad come-on, Garcia's delivery is so sincere you could imagine it actually winning someone over.

"Love is everything to me," Garcia says. "It's the root of everything -- joy, evil, despair, addiction." Elefant's lyrics certainly show this, as love is at the root of every one of its songs -- so much that the band even has a tune called, simply, "Love." The band provides the perfect backdrop for Garcia's vaguely Bowie-esque vocal musings, a blend of mid-'80s pop (U2, the Cure, the Smiths, et al.) with a hint of garage-y stomp. Lithe and supple, Elefant makes its musical point without intruding or seeming unnecessarily flashy.

Elefant is bringing its tour through St. Louis for the first time, with a show consisting of, according to Garcia, "the band playing music and me standing in front of them and singing." It should be a good show, because what the band may lack in pyrotechnics or stage flash, it will more than make up for in charm, sincerity and good tunes. Check them out while you can -- you're sure to love it.