Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Less Jungle, More Jangle, Elephant Noise Trunk It Up

Go north of the border and you'll find the tradition of indie pop jangle still thriving. Maybe it's the deep fried Mars bars or the cold winds that glide mercilessly through the crofts that inspires the Scots to don their guitars and celebrate Byrdsian pop in a fruitless search for a hint of US West Coast sunshine. Is there a finest British powerpop band than Teenage Fanclub? Wasn't indiepop started by those imperious scamps Orange Juice?

Elephant Noise's horrendously rare 12" contains four songs. Of these my favourite is Halloween Day. A darkness pervades this plea to a friend to leave his old love behind, find a new one, exorcise old ghosts, gather up memories and stove them away and dance with new demons; deny the rumbling echoes of the past and ruthlessly grasp the future. Not far behind in my affections is Remember The Big Time which bristles with energy, a sort of ferocious REM-like sound. The contemplative Cactus Talk is as ruminative as the Triffids at their maudlin best. And This Song Is Our Friend whispers warm thoughts and threads a web of hope around mundane hearts.

Four men were responsible for this overlooked masterpiece, Tom Heaney (drums and keyboards), Neil Barber (rhythm guitar, violin and vocals), Stuart Allardyce (lead guitars) and Neil Tayler (bass). Pour praise on to them, they warrant it. The ep came out in 1991 on Rub Records, which I suspect was their own label, and I urge you to seek it out.

Halloween Day - Elephant Noise