With their first album, Starsign Trampoline, tucked safely under their belts and clutching their wonderful memories of good reviews and incredible gigs, The Elephant return with a brand new album The Rainy Kingdom
Produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart, The Bees), the band will support The Rainy Kingdom with a headline date at Battersea Arts Centre in London on November 20. This show brings together a live reworking of the album with brand new audio and visual content from both the local community and Battersea Arts Centre’s own archives.
As well as a deliciously beguiling listening experience in its own right, its relaxed, cat-asleep-on-a-warm-brick-wall languor recalling antecedents ranging from The High Llamas to Robert Wyatt as well as the band’s own stated influences (Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Tom Waits, Yabby You, Ian Carr’s Nucleus. Eric Satie and Les Dawson, since you ask), Rainy Kingdom acts as a companion piece to the obscure but fascinating TV documentary which inspired it.
We Was All One, made by Ken Ashton for Thames Television in 1972, depicted the dying working class culture of the Bermondsey, Old Kent Rd and Elephant & Castle areas with beautifully bittersweet pathos, catching the moment when the traditional Cockney way of life was being dismantled, as slums were cleared, communities broken up and inhabitants sent to healthier, but more isolated tower block homes.
Deptford-born and bred keyboardist Sam Johnson knows the neighbourhood in the film intimately. His band-mates, however, bring more of a distance: fellow gadget-twiddler ‘Tall’ Paul Burnley (no, not the Tall Paul) is from Bradford, and the line-up is completed by North Londoner Laurence Clack on drums, and vocalist Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Labescat, from the south-west of France. Together, on this album, they pursue the relatively-uncharted “band as social historian” role also explored, in recent years, by Public Service Broadcasting, British Sea Power and Eccentronic Research Council.
Warm and benign on the surface, but carrying a resonant, poignant, often dark tale: that’s Rainy Kingdom – and Lucky Elephant – in microcosm.
The lyrical themes suggest Ken Loach teaming up with Squeeze on bittersweet portraits of struggling displaced communities Uncut
Makes use of old synths, tape delays, ukuleles and harmoniums to produce a beachy, breezy sound The Independent
A typically warped, woozy slice of folk inspired songcraft, British Working Man matches a sense of tradition to some very modern sounds Clash Magazine
A sense of being totally out of place and without a care in the world for fashion that makes everything about Lucky Elephant just that bit special Breaking More Waves
10th Jun 2014