Elephant Talk EP – Six Tracks to Start Summer

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.

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Tokyos, a club so bad, it made three middle class students form a hip-hop collective to dis it (Picture: The Mirror)

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.

iTunes: http://apple.co/2rdeDWG
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2qfBn3z
SoundCloud: http://bit.ly/2q6JeFt

Belated Reviews: Muse-Drones

I used to love Muse. As a teenager I could listen to their whole discography in one sitting quite happily. Although some of that was down to teenage angst and the fact I had yet to discover Radiohead; or how to talk to women, I still think that Origins of Symmetry, Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations are brilliant albums. In fact I don’t mind Showbiz and even like The 2nd Law and The Resistance in places.

However I appreciated that by the time Muse announced they were making Drones it was an album being made by a band past its prime. But when it did eventually came out, I couldn’t believe how far past their prime they actually were. This album just sounds like a parody of themselves, while at the same time sounding like Matt Bellamy had watched a bunch of Vice conspiracy videos, and drunkenly wrote some songs about it. If you have not heard to album, don’t bother, but here is a track-by-track review.

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Even the artwork is terrible (Photo: muse.mu)

 

-Dead Inside-

Madness rewritten for angsty teenagers obsessed with Kerrang! and foundation. Honestly listen to Madness, check the whole song structure and listen to this straight after. Both sound like Muse attempting to be Queen, both have a weird guitar solo which were obviously recorded while everyone was slightly bored and both have to differing degrees a satisfying bridge before saying the song title again and ending. The difference with Madness and Dead Inside is that Madness sounds more heartfelt and because of it sounds more satisfying because of it. There isn’t much wrong with Dead Inside just that it pails into insignificance compared to the last albums similar lead single.

-Drill Sergeant/Psycho-

If you were going to ask someone to make up a Muse guitar rift it would sound like the rift in this song. First few listens I liked the riff, but now it just sounds like Muse couldn’t think of an actual song structure so thought they should just do anything which sounded a tiny bit like them and convince fans that everything’s ok, because despite the fact its rubbish it still sounds like Muse. And then we come on to the skit and the lyrics itself. Bellamy had obviously just seen Full Metal Jacket, and decided to just rip it off, because anyone who had not seen Full Metal Jacket and didn’t realise it’s an obvious rip off would love that shit. And then the chorus itself; which sounds so lazy and cringeworthy it almost makes me lose faith in humanity. So overall, far from a good Muse song.

-Mercy-

Best song on the album, easily. It is the only song on the album which sounds like it could have been Muse back in their prime; partly because it sounds like a certain single from Black Holes, but nonetheless, it’s the only song on the album I hear and put the sound up a few notches. The lyrics are average  but that has never been Muse’s strongpoint. What this song does do well is using “loud quiet” song structure to effect and actually creating melody which is actually nice to listen to and combining it with a chorus which demonstrated everything which was positive about The 2nd Law. However on a Muse album in their heyday this would still be a distinctively average effort.

-Reapers-

A song which starts so positively for the first 30 seconds with a good guitar solo, before turning to shit as soon as the verse starts; sounding like everything The Resistance did wrong with lyrics bad enough to give “Psycho” a run for its money. It also has a chorus a stupid as “Psycho”. it doesn’t even sound like Muse anymore, the chorus and in fact the rest of the song (minus the first 30 seconds) just sounds like a really bad imitation of Queen and Guns and Roses while performing a really lazy version of satire. Some people criticise bands for not bringing out new albums when they headline festivals or go on tour, I don’t. If you’re writing songs which are so obviously bellow par compared to how things used to be, just do a greatest hits tour and save the legacy. The saddest part is this isn’t even the low point of the album.

-The Handler-

When I originally heard this song, I believed there could be possibly some hope for the album. This song has the same idea of Reapers, in just a selection of guitar riffs Bellamy did when he was bored with some lyrics on the top of it, apart from with this song the riffs are a noticeable improvement, and the lyrics of the song aren’t noticeably bad enough to spoil that effect. Better.

-Defector-

Quite simply the worst song Muse have ever written. It is the worst song they will ever write. It is one of the worst songs from 2015, and 2015 produced this. I would talk about this song in more depth, but it will just cause me to have a mental breakdown.

-Revolt-

Another example of Muse pretending to be Queen and ending up sounding like a parody of both groups. But by this point any sane person would have turned the album off after Defector and not have to sit through this.

-The Aftermath-

After the last two songs, this song feels like a relief. For the first 3 minutes 50 at least, this song is soothing and well paced, until Bellamy decides the song hasn’t sounded enough like Queen and ruins it slightly. Despite this, compared to the last couple of songs this is a let off and holds slight hope for the final couple of songs, although that hope disappears pretty quickly…

-The Globalist-

This is the moment on the album when Bellamy remembers this is supposed to be a concept album and then looked and saw that a classic Pink Floyd concept album thing to do is put a really really long song into it. Not unlike Exogenesis Symphony in places, after a while The Globalist sounds like a waste of time. To be fair to Exogenesis Symphony the only reason that sounds boring after a while is because there are three different parts to it, and I could happily sit through one part at once just not all three. The Globalist however, is boring all the way through, even when something does happen five minutes in, what does happen is what is wrong with whole album.

-Drones-

Killed

By

Drones

Why did they even record this? Well at least it isn’t a reprise of fucking Psycho.

 

Knowing the political climate this is connected to a band with maybe better lyrical sensibilities who were still in their prime could have made it a vital modern classic, but instead we are left with this. This album would have probably not have infuriated me as much if it was an album by some nobody I’ve never heard of or from a band I hated, but no, it had to be a band which I used to be a fan of.

-Verdict-

2.8/10