INTERVIEW: Elephant Memoirs | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Gateshead alt. trio Elephant Memoirs unveil their debut EP False Sense of Security this month. It’s a four-track that’s been twenty years in the making – and one that three of the workhorses of the Tyneside gigging scene are hoping transforms two decades of experience into inaugural recorded excellence.

“We all started playing music together when we were 13 or 14,” explained drummer Barry Drew, now a 30-something veteran of many local bands that never quite made the grade. “Coming together now, we’re all on the same hymn sheet, which makes it easier to build a rapport and move forward.”

And move forward they have. Their 2014 demo went under the radar, but first single Mug – included on the EP – received our props for its “unapologetic rockisms” and weighty comparisons to Biffy Clyro and Pulled Apart By Horses. Their live sets embody much of the same swagger, mainly via frontman and guitarist Carl Aspinall, who carries himself with a cocksure confidence that he’s able to back up with aplomb.

Yet, for this, Elephant Memoirs aren’t your typical lad-rock band. “I wouldn’t want to be classed as that sort of thing,” remarked Carl. “We’re more intelligent than that, cleverer with what we’re doing, we don’t want to just be balls out rock ‘n’ roll.” Indeed, the music touches upon feminist themes, decrying expectations of masculinity, and deals in matters of love and death with a surrealist comic slant.

“We’re big on doing everything ourselves, having that element of control. It may not be as polished, but it’s authentic”

False Sense of Security is a DIY effort, with muddy mastering and a bristly vocal. It’s the result of a strictly in-house approach; where many bands might crave a helping hand, Elephant Memoirs apparently shun it. “We’re big on doing everything ourselves, having that element of control. It may not be as polished, but it’s authentic – it’s us.”

Elephant Memoirs quickly make up for the lack of recorded gloss with their knack for songwriting and bold musical tones. The EP is packed with rough fervour, twisting and turning and invoking the notion of a gentler Placebo or a cruder, stripped-down Biffy. The standout remains Mug, which evolves from a tribute to Muse’s Plug In Baby into the band’s ascendant signature tune.

Flashes of brilliance fleet throughout; the fractured, hangover-themed Out Of My Head is austere, opening with sparse drums before shape-shifting back and forth. As openers go, it fidgets, evolves and grows into an anxious hit. If you believe in the notion of a ‘grower’, Elephant Memoirs are a shining example.

False Sense of Security sounds like a debut EP, but this isn’t a bad thing, for it’s accomplished, memorable and reveals the potential for this battle-worn trio to become an eminent name in Northern alt. rock.

Elephant Memoirs release False Sense of Security on 3rd August. The band play Think Tank?, Newcastle on Saturday 1st August.

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