Is it really five years since Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish, Valdez) presented us with the debut Shineback album? Unlike the debut this isn’t a concept, but is very much a progression in terms of ideas and approach. “We humans do a marvellous job of failing to communicate with one another, often when it matters most”, says Simon. “All the songs on ‘Dial’ carry that as an underlying theme. Musically, very much like the debut album and last year’s ‘Minotaur’ EP, the new record seeks to hop the fences between genres, just to enjoy the process of getting dirty while in the hunt for buried sonic treasures”. Alongside Simon’s regular writing partner (and label mate) Robert Ramsay, guests returning from ‘Rise Up Forgotten…’ include Matt Stevens (The Fierce & The Dead), Dec Burke (Frost*, AudioPlastik, Darwin’s Radio), Hywel Bennett (Dec Burke Band) and Henry Rogers (Touchstone, Mostly Autumn). New collaborators Tom Slatter, Daniel Zambas (We Are Kin), Karl Eisenhart (Pinnacle) and Simon’s bandmates in Valdez Joe Cardillo and Tom Hyatt are also involved. There are quite a few people taking part, but normally this is just for one song (not all on the same one), so while there are five guest guitarists adding to proceedings, Matt and Karl combine on “Kill Devil Hills”, while Tom Slatter is just on “Here I Am” and Hywel is on the title track, while Dec allows himself some real attack on “Consider Her Ways” so it isn’t really a guitar fest.
What really makes this work is the deftness and lightness of approach, with Simon using plenty of keyboards to create an environment for his vocals and ideas to really shine. There are times when the music is very much in a light, high register with virtually no bottom end, but this contrasts against a rocky approach, with the feeling that we are back in the early Eighties and synth-based power pop is the order of the day. Just listen to “Consider Her Ways” and I can guarantee that you will soon be singing along with the chorus and petitioning Chief Elephant to get this released as a single. This is an album which is just plain fun to listen to, and Simon firmly nails his prog credentials to the wall by closing the album with one song that is more than twenty-six minutes long, and one that goes past thirteen. In many ways it is a very modern album, also looking back into the Eighties and Nineties, bringing together multiple commercial styles with pop and prog to create something that is a load of fun, and never takes itself too seriously. The delicate emotional piano of the title song counterpoints what has gone before, and if ever an album deserves multiple plays it is this one as every time I have listened to it I have gained something else. When the debut album was released, BEM was very much in its infancy, but now is easily one of the most important prog labels around, so let’s hope that this release gains the kudos and publicity it deserves, as this is a delight.
8/10 by Kev Rowland
“The most remarkable current UK band. Lost Crowns do things with music I previously thought unimaginable”
Kavus Torabi (Gong, Cardiacs, Knifeworld)
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce the signing of London-based psychedelic supergroup Lost Crowns for the release of their debut album Every Night Something Happens on 25th January 2019.
Lost Crowns assault the mind with the densely detailed songs of Richard Larcombe (Stars In Battledress). There’s a lot going on here – complex drum patterns, bass and guitar parts with a lot of notes and hardly any gaps, with clarinet, keyboards, harmonium and voices weaving through the middle like a twisting country road that can’t shift an inch left or right in case it strays onto someone else’s territory. But they accomplish this with the relaxed air of a druggy jam. Will the head leave the body? It will if Lost Crowns have anything to do with it.
To quote Richard Larcombe: “The union of Lost Crowns and Bad Elephant Music will carry brave ears to a new dawn of complex shimmering surrender, and their devotion to our vision is proof of their bold pioneering spirit.”
David Elliott from BEM says: “I’m delighted that Richard and the band have put their trust in us to release Every Night Something Happens. From my first hearing of the mixes last summer I knew this was something incredibly special, and we can’t wait to get it out there”.
The album will be available to pre-order on CD and digital download from the first half of December 2018 ahead of its release in January.
Lost Crowns is nothing less than a ‘funny music’ supergroup, built around the songs of Richard Larcombe (Stars In Battledress), alongside Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld, Tonochrome, My Tricksy Spirit) on bass, keyboardists Rhodri Marsden (Prescott, Scritti Politti) and Josh Perl (Knifeworld), and Nicola Baigent (North Sea Radio Orchestra, William D. Drake) on clarinet – together with the free spirit of Keepsie on drums.
Richard’s attitude to music was formed in his teens by the Incredible String Band and Syd Barrett, but he always thought something was absent. “The missing element for me in the psych-rock canon is complexity”, says Richard. “To me the combination is essential. Psychedelic pop became prog rock, but the fluttery, out-of-it surrender got lost in the transition to more elaborate arrangements. The intricacy of Lost Crowns is meant to add to the evocation of visionary experience. The vital influence of Tim Smith [Cardiacs] gave me the inspiration to articulate my vision of truly psychedelic music, with the edge and the unfunny dreams of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn but not a hint of flower power and no rock vocal stylings”.
Written, arranged and recorded over a four-year period, Every Night Something Happens was developed as a studio project, but with the catalyst of an appearance at the Alphabet Business Convention in 2017 the band has developed into an acclaimed live format, too – “…a rich, unfolding master-craftsman’s confection…complex, artfully-meandering songs built from delightfully byzantine chords and arpeggios that cycle through ever-evolving patterns like palace clockwork”, to quote Misfit City’s Dann Chinn.
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce the signing of Swedish progressive rock combo Introitus for the release of their new album, Shadows in early 2019.
The long awaited sequel to 2014’s critically acclaimed album Anima, Shadows sees the band honing their trademark contemporary progressive sound.
Introitus mix their Swedish folk heritage and elements of traditional progressive rock to create a unique musical sound.
Anna from Introitus said: “Introitus has always been well received by the UK progressive rock audience, so releasing our new album Shadows at BEM feels like coming home for us”
“It’s lovely to welcome Introitus to the BEM family”, says David Elliott, BEM’s Label Manager. “I’ve been in contact with Anna and Mats since seeing them play at Summer’s End a few years back. Progressive rock mixed with folk elements has always been one of my favourite mixes, and this is a band that does it really well”.
Shadows will be released on CD and download in 2019.
Formed in Sweden in 1999 by keyboard player and composer Mats Bender, Introitus are very much a family affair, with Mats wife Anna on vocals, and their son Mattias on drums with daughter Johanna on chorus vocals. They are joined by Par Helje on lead guitar and Dennis Lindkvist on bass and new member (and partner of Mattias) Linnea Syrjala joining them on flutes, accordion and additional keyboards.
They have previously released three acclaimed albums 2007’s Fantasy, Elements in 2011 and their most recent release Anima from 2014. Their performance at the Summer’s End festival in 2015 was widely acclaimed.
Their first release on Bad Elephant Music, Shadows, will see Introitus picking up where they left off with Anima, introducing somewhat darker elements into the music. They mix the wind, and the magic mystery of wild forests of Sweden with hints of 70s progressive rock as they push their musical limits.
Anna had this to say: “The Bad Elephant Music team has from the start been warm and helpful, making our choice for unleashing Shadows on the world an easy one. Releasing our new album with BEM and in the UK feels like coming home for us!”
Introitus official website.
And so, the accidental band are back. Originally destined to be Matt Stevens’ second solo album, TFATD have morphed into possibly the most important instrumental rock act in the UK today. Comprising Matt (guitar, synth, piano), Kev Feazey (bass, programming, synth, percussion), Steve Cleaton (guitar, piano) and Stuart Marshall (drums, percussion) they have gained an amazing following (The Fierce Army) over the last few years, due in no small part to be a great live act who have found new fans wherever they have played. They can often be found playing with their mates Hawkwind, and gained huge kudos from their gig last year with Monkey3 at The Borderline.
Here they are back with their third studio album, which follows on from 2013’s ‘Spooky Action’ (they released the live ‘Field Recordings’ last year). It is incredibly hard to categorise their sound as it comprises elements from post rock, math rock, space, rock, prog and hard rock all thrown into a metallic melting pot. There are times when it feels that the band are just bouncing ideas off each other in the studio, jamming live, when at others it feels slightly more structured but whatever they are doing it always contains a mighty groove that makes the listener to move along to the music. Due to the small matter of geography I have never seen the guys play (they formed four years after I moved to the other side of the world), which I know is very much my loss, as while this is a great album I know that in concert it will be turned into something that is quite another level.
TFATD have stayed true to their roots to this album, and that the mainstream is starting to embrace them has far more to do with the rest of the world coming to grips with how good they are as opposed any “selling out”. This is an incredibly easy album to listen to, although with the distorted riffs sweeping through my brain I could never call them easy listening. This could well be the album that breaks them through to the big time, and it will be richly deserved. If you haven’t come across them before this, now is the time.
By Kev Rowland
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce that renowned and respected Oxfordshire-based progressive rock outfit Sanguine Hum is joining the BEM family, and will be releasing their long-awaited new album, ‘Now We Have Power’, this October.
The follow-up and sequel to 2015’s acclaimed double CD ‘Now We Have Light’ continues the story of Don through a surreal lyrical and musical landscape. ‘Now We Have Power’ also sees the return of original drummer Paul Mallyon to the fold as a special guest.
Joff Winks, Sanguine Hum’s guitarist and vocalist: “Making Now We Have Power has been a long, but enjoyable process and we’re really thrilled that Bad Elephant are on board with us to present the album to the world. There is an exciting vibe at BEM that is totally about putting interesting and unique music first and we’re really happy to be part of their enthusiastic team for this release.”
“It’s a real honour to be working with a band as respected as Sanguine Hum”, says BEM’s label manager, David Elliott. “Now We Have Power builds on its predecessor, a true progression in every way. It’s been great working with Matt Baber on his solo album, and now having The Hum as part of the family is just brilliant”.
‘Now We Have Power’ will be released on CD and high-quality digital download on 12th October, with pre-orders opening in late August.