Elephant Eyelash

By Richard Bold

Anyone familiar with the big crunch theory? The one where the decreasing thrust of the big bang combined with ever present gravity means that, one day, all the debris of the galaxy will reach some finite limit before it all tumbles in on itself, colliding at that very same point where it all began? No?  Read a book. Div.

Coming up through the Anticon school of cLOUDDEAD – wonderful and infuriating in equal parts – Yoni Wolf has played a major part in the deconstruction of what was originally dubbed alternative hip-hop. Ever since, the All Tomorrow's Parties generation have been inundated with an ever-expanding universe (see what i'm doing there?) of bands and solo projects bent on taking the form to its outer reaches and we've generally loved them for it. From the twitchy headphone funk meanderings of Themselves to the fiery polemics of Sage Francis, the Anticon collective have made a name for each other wherever ears have searched for the unheard.  Anyone who bore witness to Doseone's exhilarating and odd freeform poetry evening in front of a full-scale symphony orchestra at this year's Sonar festival can testify that all lines have been irreparably blurred.

But after the initial embarrassment of riches, a crisis point appears to have been reached. The latest/second/final(?) cLOUDDEAD record saw a turn away from breaking new ground towards a reclamation of a pop sensibility – albeit filtered through their unique sonic history. The sound of a group whose anti stance had turned in on itself and pushed them back into what had been inside them the whole time; a bunch of indie kids who love a good chorus.

Why?'s Elephant Eyelash carries the same scatterform stream of consciousness lyricism and flow that we've grown accustomed to but this is the only element that connects it with its Anticon forefathers. Instead of Jel's MPC button-bashing tricknology, we have the warm, down-home sound of an early 90s alt-rock combo strumming and twinkling in a way lovably familiar to anyone who's ever worn a badge as a fashion statement.  Sounds like while Yoni's skinny fists were reaching for the stars, his ears were fixed firmly on the death cab for cutie modern US indie scene.

With Yo Yo Bye Bye bearing close resemblance to the postal service in both electronic pulse and its detached emo lyrics, with pretty much every other moment casting an eye over its shoulder at wowee zowee-era Pavement, the whole album is instantly accessible and huggable. Not something that can be honestly said about much of the Anticon catalogue.  Even Yoni's delivery has become more coherent allowing even the loosest wordplay to create a world where you at least think you know what he's feeling, if not what he's actually telling you. As he proclaims early on, "I'll tell it to you like I got it in my mind".  Why?'s confusion is clearing and, through the still somewhat wilful mist, you can hear a great new voice coming through.
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