Elephants & Castles – ‘L I L O’ Review

Opening with a strong guitar hook, ‘L I L O’ is Elephants & Castles’ latest single and their first of 2015. More than that, it’s their first public offering since ‘Fashanu’… and it couldn’t more different.

Maintaining the same pop aesthetic as ‘Fashanu’, the strength of ‘L I L O’ is that it doesn’t follow in the immediate footsteps. It would’ve been easy, too easy, for Elephants & Castles to build on their last single’s success with more of the same. The opening screaming guitar hook sets the tone, venturing into more abrasive territory than its predecessor, but is strangely used rather sparingly.

It seems quite preposterous for a band to compose an identifiable hook and then not rely on it more, but it’s another quirk that works in the band’s favour. As the vocals come in, they’re accompanied by a solid dance-rock beat and a steady synth line that give the track a lot of indie dance appeal. It’s not until just before the pre-chorus break, in the midst of an underlying 90’s baggy vibe, that the guitar hook makes a return.

So why do Elephants & Castles use the main hook so sparingly? Because this isn’t a pop track, it’s more in the indie-rock vibe. The band understood that they have a lot more to offer, in terms of vocal and instrumental melodies, than just a throwaway hook. This is a track that is carefully composed to be more than just a driving device for a mindless guitar hook. And with it’s simple and anthemic chorus, it manages to succeed.

Besides, there’s nothing stopping somebody from remixing it into a more club-orientated track like James Benedict did with ‘Fashanu’.

The track is available for purchase on February 23 on Animal Farm Records.

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