Forty Elephant Gang - Miss You / Hard Times
It is only February but the #TEAMw21 radar is always working hard to find new talent and in Forty Elephant Gang we think we have found an act that will become ones to watch throughout 2023. They engage on many levels from that quirky name, throught to their delightfully mandolin laden releases and finally the quality and subject matters of their writing.
First off the name - it comes from a notorious gang of female pickpockets from The Elephant & Castle, however for the record FEG are all male and there are definitely not 40 of them. The name is suitably attention grabbing but that only gets you so far - however those willing to investigate further will be richly rewarded.
In fairness "Miss You" had us hooked after the opening few seconds with its mandolin and acoustic guitar opening - it is truly sumptuous before a word has even been uttered.
"Miss You" is for those couples who have lost their joie de vivre, who need time and space apart to rediscover themselves individually, so that they can revitalize and rekindle themselves as a couple,
"You can take my money go and buy some things you like
I'll stay here and watch the football - grab a beer I'll be alright
Take the kids round to your sisters - have a wild girls night out
Dance into the early hours - if I need ya then i'll shout"
The chorus makes things even clearer
"You know I love you - but I want to miss you
So don't hurry back cos I'll be fine on my own
You know I love you - but I need to miss you
We can reacquaint ourselves when we come back home"
There is a beautifully easy going feel to the overall sound that is so warm and engaging it is impossible to resist, including a divine mandolin solo!
The alternative futire is spelled out as one of a world of dull routine
"Staring at our screens in the evening
Conversation don't last too long
Catching up on TV and drinking well that can't be wrong"
One that will play out for their remaining years!
"Sit here silently until the end of time"
As singles go it is pretty much faulltess from start to finish, the vocals have a laid back well intentioned charm to them and the band play with an effortless ease.
A few weeks earlier "Hard Times" which will also form part of their new EP was released. It shares the same musicality of "Miss You" but the lyrical focus and attention to detail in the production are quite different.
From the start where the opening bars are played out over a background of gloomy news reports
The chorus hints at the worries brought on by the precarious financial position people now find themselves in and that fear that things will not get better - that there is no cure to the crisis
"Everybody's talking about Hard Times
You teleport your way into my mind
From worlds afar I've left behind
Hard Times the medicine I need never arrives
I see the magic in your eyes"
The overall beautiful mandolin led sound is punctured by a scuzzy electric guitar solo which somehow fits perfectly. As the song develops futher the intensitiy of the playing and the background news reports get louder and louder and as the vocals try to match, it all builds to an epic conclusion.
Available in a radio friendly four and half minute format or as a barnstormingly mad, almost building to an "A Day In The Life" folk orchestra crescendo, version, clocking in just under 7 minutes - neither will disappoint.
If you must let the Forty Elephant Gang steal from you let them steal your hearts - with these 2 great singles and the promise of much more to come.
Both tracks are taken from their forthcoming EP ‘The Time We Lost’ due for release March 31st.
The EP launch is at The Green Note on Thursday March 30th.