Lucky Elephant are a quartet hailing from London, Bradford and France. The Rainy Kingdom was inspired by Ken Ashton’s 1972 TV documentary We Was All One, which looked upon the dismantling of the Cockney way of life via the transferring of habitants from slums to tower blocks. The band’s relationship with this London life hugely led the way of this melancholic album, in particular homing in on the documentary’s focus on the Old Kent Road (which just so happens to be the title of the opening track which was graced with the Q Magazine’s approval as track of the day).
As The Rainy Kingdom starts out, it sets the tone of dreamy guitars and delicate yet abrasive vocals. Their aim to be a “band as social historian” is explicitly picked up by the following track, that appears to be more a feature than a song itself that is accompanied by a stop motion animation depicting the repetitive office drone of modern London. Entitled ‘The British Working Man’, it has a selection of voices typically used in war documentaries, certainly harking on historical tones as well as relating to the modern day with techno sounds littered throughout.
‘All The Streets I Have Known’ strays from the dreamy guitar and ‘Old Kent Road’ towards a hint of smooth funk, but those abrasive vocals stick around to create a sound so wonderfully contradictory yet perfectly acceptable. Lucky Elephant come across as a band that may fall under the ever so broad staple indie category, however they go beyond this in a range of ways, creating a truly inspiring listening experience. ‘Buckets and Spades’ is a fairly simple track. with solemn tones that when matched with the title conjures up images on a rainy day at the beach, relating quite literally to ‘The Rainy Kingdom’. However, a slight upturn towards the end where the guitar is livened up and it’s as if the sun has eventually come out. This follows on through to ‘The Flipside of Spring’, the opening riff of which not only makes it acceptable to use the word jive but also imaginably encapsulates the fickle energy of spring from the rainy flipside of April showers to the shy appearance of the Sun here and there.
The album draws to an end with the slightly Spanish vibe of ‘Mercy’, which lends the feeling of a retreat away from the melancholy of the rest of the album and the following two tracks whirl the album into a shoegaze ambiance. This and the energising pop funk elements help to raise the spirits of The Rainy Kingdom, creating a record that though perceivably glum is soothing to the soul and heart-warmingly astounding.