Record Review 

Even more prolific than the King himself, this trio of Siberian-born L.A. punks with a Texas-based drummer, is a quirky combination of non-Russian influences. These two albums (both already released in 2001) are closer to Squeeze or late-period Madness than anything from Memphis. The Elvises squish music hall, surf, pop, rockabilly and country into a jittery version of Chris Isaak and let rip. What results is unpretentious and surprisingly low-key, especially for a band who prances around nude on their album sleeve, plays an oversized fire-red balalaika-shaped bass and titles songs "Sex in Paradise," "Sticky Little Girl" and "Naked Rock Star."

The most disappointing aspect of these short albums (both run just over 30 minutes) is how restrained they are.

Bedroom Boogie drops the live drums for cheap, programmed beats, which adds a Devo-esque quality, but doesn't buy them any more yuks. The lyrics are witty, yet delivered with a Sting-like earnestness, and the music lays bone dry -- not quite lifeless, but frustratingly limp considering the inherent humor in the band's name and approach.

With the right stage energy, these songs have potential for coming alive. But lacking visual stimulation, the Red Elvises, like the real one, need hip-shaking, lip-quivering action to keep them from sounding bland, bored and bloated.

The Red Elvises play the Somber Reptile Thurs., April 5.


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