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Lincoln Conspiracy Finds Elbo Room

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 24, 2006 4:00PM

The band Lincoln Conspiracy must enjoy a challenge.

2006_01_lincoln.jpgWhile other bands are content to worship at the Church of Duran Duran whilst reading from the Book of Morrissey, Lincoln Conspiracy takes chances. Not every group would confidently cite Cliff Richard as an influence. Equally irresponsible is its tendency to recall the English pub rock of Joe Jackson and stomp in the muddy footsteps of Ben Folds. And, frankly, it’s comparable to career suicide to name your first two EPs after members of the Beatles (John and Paul). It’s an almost insurmountable hill of expectations.


Right around the time when lead singer/drummer Steven Lourie intones the lyrics “It’s not the bite that hurts you, it’s the sting,” we found ourselves setting aside our pre-conceived notions and reveling in his clever wordplay. Ethan Kreitzer’s keyboards are the sugar that makes the bile in the lyrics like “I’ll take you out for the weekend/Then I’ll be leaving/Cos it’s the least that I can do” go down a little easier. Steve Ordonez’s R&B-derived basslines give muscle-bound support to the arrangements from the Boston-based trio.

The surface of the Paul and John EPs is all sunny, up-tempo pop; for god’s sakes they even worked a Farfisa organ into the mix. But repeated listening to both records unearths the heartbreak buried beneath the “ooh la las” and handclaps. Eventually, the songs remind you of new friends that you feel like you’ve known your whole life.

Last seen here during shows at Cal’s Liquors and UIC, Lincoln Conspiracy opens for Pinstripes at Elbo Room tonight at 8:30 p.m. in a $5 show. They’re also entertaining the denizens of Northwestern at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at a free show in the 1999 Room at the Norris University Center.