A cold clinical synth beat, a tinkle of music, then a tribal holler and a beating pulse opens the song. A few seconds later, Martha Phillips’ trade mark crystal clear voice wriggles through the sound like a stalking python. I suspect that on hearing the intro only a small proportion of Elephant Trees fans would guess it was their latest single, 4100.
4100 marks another huge leap for the Elephant Trees as they continue their climb to being regarded as one of the most experimental and deep thinking bands in indie. The song continues to establish the bands move into heavy indie pop with a flirtation into chill jazz. The outcome is a pleasingly complex sound with plenty to puzzle and interest. The Elephant Trees offer songs with complexity and a different aspect or beat is on offer to latch onto for each play.
Martha wrote the song to highlight the comfort we often feel wallowing in dark places, and how conversely we also use crutches to distract us from these things. Behind Martha, the other band members Sam Hugh-Jones, Will Brooks and Alex Goodall do a wonderful job as always creating a deliciously flowing tune of true menace while keeping the insistent pop pulse nicely accessible.
From their 2015 start, the Elephant Trees explore and expose raw human emotions and frailties, and represent it throughout the breadth and power of their music. Now in their early 20’s, there is a darker burning edge to the music rather than the raw energy and anger of the earlier songs.
Of all our local bands the now Manchester based The Elephant Trees are the ones perhaps spreading their wings and developing a unique sound the most. The band’s efforts are not going unnoticed; an early Trees track (Missing) landed up on ITV’s Cold Feet the other week, the band performed at the Royal Albert Hall, they had some full on well received festival and pride performances last summer, Martha made the top 3 of the Fender undiscovered artist of the year for 2018. Oh yes, they also met a drunk me making an idiot of myself a couple of times.
I continue to get a strong feeling that this is only the start of the story for this band. Immediately, 4100, this excellent new single is out on 15th February, there’s a first EP on the way on the 5th April, and The Trees are supporting the mighty Bang Bang Romeo at 78 Sackville Street on 19th February, and performing as part of a wonderful quadruple live gig with Larkins, The Lottery Winners and Hyde at Leeds Brudenell on February 28th.