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Album Review

Hearts of Palm UK is not actually a U.K. band, but rather a L.A. trio fronted by songwriter and singer Erica Elektra (formerly of the Fancies). With Hearts of Palm UK, she and cohorts Sonia Powell (percussion and keyboards) and Jamie Kaye (cello) create a charmingly naïve-sounding electro-folk hybrid. The songs sound like the bedroom strummings of a talented young woman overlaid with elements of 1980s electronica, which, as it turns out, is exactly what they are — the songs all started life as recordings of Elektra singing and accompanying herself on the guitar, and she added most of the other sounds later using a Korg workstation. It's not always easy to say why the result is so compelling; examine the individual elements separately (glockenspiel, cheap-sounding electronic beats, wispy vocals, etc.) and they don't seem like they would add up to anything more than self-conscious cutesiness. But the melodies are catchy without being saccharine, the lyrical sentiments are sincere without being maudlin, and the beats are actually fairly slamming. There are also salutary hints of glitchiness ("So Long") that give a welcome touch of grit to lines like "You walked me to my next class" and "I love love love love you" ("Jonathan FMF"). It takes a special kind of talent to deliver lines like that with a glockenspiel in the background and not induce vomiting. Elektra seems to have that special kind of talent. And the album closes with what, in retrospect, feels like an inevitable cover version of Roxy Music's "More Than This."


Formed: California

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

The California-based electronic pop trio Hearts of Palm UK create a blend of '80s-influenced new wave and indie pop. Initially a duo comprised of friends Erica Elektra (vocals, keyboards, and guitars) and Sonia Powell aka Frankie Rose (percussion and keyboards), the group formed in late 2006 and quickly recorded a four-song demo that received nods from print and online publications. This attention led to Elektra being named America's Best Up-and-Coming Female Musician in GenArt and Biore Skincare's...
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For Life, Hearts of Palm UK
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