Review of Old Kent Road by Lucky Elephant
London collective Lucky Elephant are to release their new album The Rainy Kingdom through Sunday Best on September 8. Produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart, The Bees), the album features the track “Old Kent Road” which, along with the already aired “British Working Man“, is available as instant grat upon pre-order of the album: http://smarturl.it/TheRainyKingdom
The album’s first single “British Working Man” was nearly the title track, “…but we didn’t want to spend a year explaining to people that it’s not a BNP record.” Both this song and “Old Kent Road” are accompanied by stop-motion animation videos set in a recognisably modern London (the DLR and the London Eye are both visible, as is an Apple laptop), depicting the life and repetitive routine of an office drone. The visual style will evoke nostalgic associations with – depending upon your generation – Trumpton/Chigley/Camberwick Green, Postman Pat or Bob The Builder, all set in an ordered society where everything turns out alright. In Lucky Elephant‘s world, however, there’s always the unsettling suggestion that things won’t turn out so well: the sight of a passenger plane passing overhead is accompanied by the sound of a WW2 bomber.
A slow burning yet hypnotic piece that drags you in to its melody and then wont let go. The fusion of sound and video come together well to tell a simple tale of a street that everyone knows.
Lucky Elephant’s 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 Paul Burnley 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.
Johnson discovered Ken Ashton‘s We Was All One documentary more-or-less by accident. “It was probably a bored internet moment, clicking around, you go down these weird alleys. And immediately, I said ‘This is amazing’. We all became slightly obsessed with it. When you’re writing you need a spark, and usually it’s heartbreak or lost love, but we used this. It was a microcosm of so much that is going on. Not just in South East London or London or England even, but the whole of Europe.”
If you want to see Lucky Elephant, in action a good opportunity is coming up at the end of this month Thu 31st Jul – Sun 3rd Aug at Camp Bestival.
Review by Doug Duffin