On my 7th day of university, myself and a couple of friends headed out late, already worse for wear, to the gloriously rubbish bar on our halls of residence, Venue. When we got there, it was closed, but for some reason we bumped into a big group of people from the digs opposite us. When we head back to our halls, and three people we had not met before from the flat opposite followed us. One of them didn’t really speak and we have never seen him since, some wonder if he got lost, ended up in Dewsbury, and never found his way back. Another we did see many times again, then there was the third of these people who followed us back. This guy came with an incredibly indie 2013 look, of denim jacket, chinos and a Hawaiian shirt, was very easy to talk utter shite to, and would not stop talking about the fact his dad was in a band called Kajagoogoo. This man Courtney Askew-Conti, who 5 days later would console me over my first university era romantic failure with the only way 18 year olds could (Jäger bombs and 80s music), and go on to become one of my best friends at university, sharing many trips to our love/hate relationships with our Yorkshire towns establishments.
Courtney has had musical acts before; before he went to university he fronted an Indie Band named ‘Ego Trip’, which were everything a late 00’s indie band made up of teenagers should sound like. Courtney also was part of a
joke amazing three man hip-hop group called ‘The Camele Clube’, which the song ‘Tokyos (What Do You Want From Me) apparently is still played in certain societies pre drinks in UoH. Most importantly to Courtney’s latest incarnation was his short lived 2013 project ‘Terrapin’, which included the Disclosure inspired music, such as ‘To The Lions’, which you can find bellow:
Four years later, after completing a Music Technology degree and spending a year working for Warner Bros music London, Courtney has released his new effort, under the guise of ‘Elephant Talk’. Leighton Buzzards finest has also returned with what is objectively his best work to date. When talking to me about music as he has done his degree, Courtney often said to me that the most important thing about original music is to sound authentic, and not to be caught down by sounding like someone else, or as a stereotype, but that does not mean reminding you of something else is a band thing. Interpol remind people of Joy Division, that doesn’t make ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ any less of a masterpiece. And in some tracks, Courtney’s influences do come out. For example, ‘Cabin Fever’ invokes Late of the Pier, who produced one of Courtney’s favourite albums, and opener ‘Recently’ has first album Disclosure vibes which we saw before in his ‘Terrapin’ project.
However, I am delighted to report that the album is full of 6 great summery tunes, where it is clear my friend is having a lot of fun. It comes to no surprise to myself that Courtney could write decent lyrics knowing that he used to just randomly freestyle in smoking areas of clubs, but nonetheless, the simplicity and catchiness of the hook to ‘Too Much’ is excellent. Stand out track is a fight between ‘Take Me Over’, which features a saxophone solo and very slick production values, and ‘Broken Arrow’, where the impressive outro includes the most joyful hook outside Elbow’s album of 2017 so far.
Overall I shouldn’t be surprised that a man who managed to turn Alan Partridge saying “Are you on an E” into a hook for a hip-hop song in first year could create a decent dance record, but it has still surpassed my expectations. I implore all to give the EP a listen, and see for yourselves.
Rudrum Rating: 8.4/10
Elephant Talk EP is available on Spotify, iTunes and Soundcloud Now.