Kangaroo is available via:
The E.P., Kangaroo can be purchased at:
Kangaroo (Radio Edit)- 9.4/10.0
Catch the Sun- 9.3
STANDOUT TRACK: Kangaroo
RELEASED: 09 February 2014
℗ 2014 Strata/Kangaroo Zoo
GENRES: Alternative, Alt-Rock, Pop.
This London-based duo have influences of John Mayer and Ryan Adams- as well as Jack White. Huge and emotive vocals mix with songs of fragmented love: tales of life-gone-bad mix with dislocated emotions. Few acts are brave enough to tread these party lines (fewer still actually do so effectively): El Born do so with passion, conviction and daring confidence.
I am always keen to seek out acts that are that little bit different.
‘Different’ does not have to equate to divisiveness: the artists that stick in the mind are those whom take risks- and stand apart from the crowd. As well as extolling the rise of London-based music, I have keenly discovered (and heralded) some great duos: ranging in sound and presentation- each providing something unique and special. There are a lot of featherweight and disposable acts- vague and generic sounds are too often heard it seems. With the arrival of every new band (as well as the inevitable media hysteria), I always advise caution: too much praise and focus is given to those undeserving of it. As great as Indie music is, it is always nice to be afforded a break away from it: witness music that exchanges rush and bounce for something deeper- and strikes a deep-down chord. London has been providing some fantastic new music: everything from all-female Punk through to male-female Folk duos; Desert/Hard Rock semblance and Hip Hop poetry- the capital is leading a multicultural and cosmopolitan charge. Having investigated (over the last couple of weeks) a few of London’s finest, I was keen to get down to studying a particularly impressive duo- Si Connelly and Hils Granger:
“El Born is about new beginnings,” says the bands frontman and songwriter Si Connelly. With Coldplay already name checking the lead track “1982” off the band’s album – produced by Brit winning producer Chris Potter and Grammy winning Dom Morley – Si Connelly & keyboardist Hils believe they have created something truly original. The London-based band recently completed their debut album. It contains 11 emotionally charged songs, each showcasing stunning vocals. Chris Potter (producer of Verve’s Urban Hymns) and Dom Morley (Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black) were so keen to produce the album – they did it for no upfront fee. The band are named after the bohemian El Born district of Barcelona. A beautiful piece of abstract artwork (the aptly titled “Long Time Coming”, by Michel Keck) reminded Si of the area and inspired him to name his band after it. Further inspired he contacted Michel Keck directly and, once she’d heard the music, told him El Born could use her paintings as their artwork. Musically speaking, the band sit somewhere in the field of alternative rock, with a widescreen, un-pasteurized sort of a sound. Pop songs with testosterone and an adrenalin rush. Kind of John Mayer meets Jack White meets Ryan Adams with a box of grenades. But the dynamic twists, classically infused keyboard fills and rolling bass are always there to stop the songs festering for too long on the purely dark side. Lyrically, there’s a heavy nod towards songwriter Si’s relationship with his past. People, places, love, hate, abandonment, burning your house down: the usual stuff. A past, which, it seems he variously, wants to escape, return to, forget and repeat. A past seen through a kaleidoscope, which won’t stop turning and is now being squeezed through the prism of the present. It’s these conflicts and collisions that create the glorious tensions in the lyrics and the wild-eyed edginess in the delivery… Now, with everything in place El Born are finally looking forward to coming into the world.”
When it comes to distilling their essence- trying to categorise their sound- and labelling El Born: they are best summed up as Alternative Rock. If you enjoy the crazy-hot guitar weaves of Jack White; the intelligent and entrancing music of Ryan Adams: plenty of wonder and relatable joy will be discovered. There is no flimflammery or sleight of hand: genuine music and passion are what you get with El Born. Swathes of Blues Rock and Indie can be heard; U.S. and U.K. influences sit alongside one another: meaning the music will find appreciative ears in America- as well as throughout Britain. Despite the Rock emphasis, there are plenty of aspects (to El Born’s music) that can be appreciated (if you are not a fan of this genre). The lyrics- penned by frontman Si Connelly- look at his past: the heartache, hardships and tribulations; the optimism and the ambitious of the present- as well as all the potential the future holds. There is a charming and alluring mix of introspection and swimming-against-the-tide heroics; tales of abandonment and disillusionment: underdog fight mixes with grown-up rebellion. For music-lovers that appreciate a fine lyric: songbooks that are skillfully-penned and compelling- then this stunning two-piece are the duo for you. Every subject- whether looking at love or regret- is laced in energy, fervent delivery and unabashed wild-eyed passion: the music compels you to be involved and come along for the ride- which may account for the duo’s huge (and growing) fan base. With acclaim and support from the likes of Coldplay, El Born are getting serious recognition: their music has no boundaries or club rules- it is urgent and multifarious tantalization for the masses. Their E.P. Kangaroo is gaining some impressive adulation- so I felt it best to sit down to investigate its title cut.
A driving and intriguing intro. means that Kangaroo gets off to the races instantly: its swirling Indie Rock guitars blend with solid and passionate percussion. An energetic mood is whipped up as Connelly steps to the mic. Early lines mix ambiguity and evocativeness: personal doubts and questions mingle with romantic haunt. When singing: “I don’t know where I slept last night/I don’t know why/I felt your shadow at my side/I don’t know why” you can hear the conviction and soulfulness in the vocal: there is a bit of Keane in the overall sound. El Born’s songs often look at unfortunate proclivities and darker themes: it seems that our frontman is down on his luck. Connelly also possesses a little of Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke: that same impressive tenor and urgency comes through. The track looks at the realities of love and relationships; people do not change and the heart often rules the head: Connelly is determined to give the relationship a go, but is finding it hard-going. Byzantine and oblique (“I spin like circles in the sky, like tangerines“) marry alongside cute and imploring (“And if I should fall my Kangaroo“): Connelly clearly has a flair for words and delineation- making the song that bit more gripping and fascinating. Granger arrives to provide some uplifting and augmentative vocals: wordless coos and firm-hearted support add passion and emotion to the words- and lift the song higher and higher. I have mentioned the likes of Keane, yet the track has U.S. roots: artists such as John Mayer come to mind, as well as Californian Sunshine Pop. When Connelly and Granger combine in the chorus: ‘Ohs’ and ‘ahs’ swoop and swing- the track hits a peak and the most evocative and memorable moment is elicited. The composition has an Indie/Pop feel to it, but it is not too imposing: the percussion and guitar add energy and support, yet never encroach upon the vocals. As the final verse arrives, Connelly is angered: disappointed by circumstance, it appears that his heart is to remain broken: “It’s true nothing ever changes/See it’s all just the same girl/It’s true nothing ever changes/See it’s all just the same girl.” The lines are repeated and reinforced: Granger joins in to add support and emotional weight- the lines become a mantra of sorts; spun and punctuated upon each cycle. In spite of the anxiety and disappointment (in the lyrics), the vocal and composition keep the song upbeat and catchy: you cannot help but to sing along and join in- there is an addicitiveness and compelling aspect to the lyrics. Connelly’s voice becomes stronger and more determined as the song progresses: reaching a gravelled and overwhelmed belt by the final stages. The final minute-and-a-half mixes composition with vocal: the former ducks and dives; the latter is haunting and striking. Connelly steps away from the mic. to allow Granger a spotlight: her voice rises and glides with spectral acclaim. Just as we think our frontman has retreated to the shadows (to dwell and reflect) he is back in focus: determined to have the final say. Speaking of dislocation and losing those close to him (“I separated all my friends from high to low/And in-between the two of us I let them go“), Connelly seems to have sacrificed a fair bit: you wonder whether the romance and longing was worth it at all. Any questions or doubts are answered in the final seconds, as the addictive coda (“It’s true nothing ever changes…”) comes back to the fore: blood-curdling of voice, our frontman is inflamed and overwrought: incensed by the outcome of events. The track has aspects and elements of modern-day Indie bands; a sprinkling of a U.S. Pop and Rock can be detected as well: the abiding sound is very much that of El Born, mind. I am pretty good when it comes to pairing sounds and bands (attesting which bands sound like whom)- a stark uniqueness and individuality comes through in Kangaroo. Connelly proves himself to be an agile, effective and skillfully pen-wielder: able to blend emotions beautifully. The words are economical and stunning: strange and wonderful imagery sits alongside bare-boned emotion and outpuring- meaning the song will resonate with a wide sect. His vocals are empowered and emphatic throughout: ranging from soulful roar all the way to measured calm- Connelly will be certainty be a torch-bearing singer to watch in the future. Granger’s vocals range from calming and entranced to atmospheric and stunning- the duo combine perfectly. Granger is another vocalist to keep a close eye on; the duo are at their strongest when their vocals combine- something just clicks. The composition is persistent and urgent throughout: never too hard-hitting or spoiling-for-a-fight, it perfectly supports the foreground- and adds vibrancy in spades. Kangaroo is a track that will speak to the teen demographic and well as older audiences: the words and meanings are directed to everyone. With touches of vintage U.S. Rock and Blues, it will appeal to American audiences strongly- meaning the duo could have an exciting future there. With exceptionally clear and concise production and mixing, Kangaroo is a song that will be enjoyed and appreciated over and over- a perfect introduction to the two-piece.
The rest of this year is going to be a jam-packed and exciting one for El Born. Kangaroo (the E.P.) is rife with gems and brilliant moments. 1982 is a gentle and beautiful number: a hugely emotive and impassioned vocal performance from Connelly looks at a relationship and its vicissitudes. With heart and soul in his voice, a direct and striking message comes through: “Did somebody hurt you?/Did somebody let you down?” Other men have hurt (Connelly’s sweetheart), but he is not the same: a waiting saviour, in essence. With self-recrimination and self-flagellation mixing with hope and redemption: it is a power and potent number- and a great spin on the love-against-the-odds angle. Connelly’s gravelled and emphatically soulful vocal is stirring; Granger’s gorgeous backing adds purity and (much-needed) feminine beauty into the track. Plaintive and yearning strings give a John Mayer-cum-Jeff Buckley feel: you can hear Americana Blues and Rock come through strongly. Catch the Sun has wooziness and gentle haze: Connelly’s vocal projection is more introverted and self-examining. Our frontman once more is caught in a spider’s web: a sub-continent of loneliness is his destination, and he is keen to emigrate as soon as possible. Immersed in a relationship that is showing its cracks, Connelly is a worried man- he is losing his girl. The Coldplay-championed stunner (1982) was more bombastic: here there is plenty of force- yet elliptical embers and delicate falsetto do their bidding. As Connelly proclaims: “So I don’t connect with my soap-opera side when I falling in line/This daily routine wears me when I go out, it’s a desperate decline“- you can hear the pain in his voice. Granger- once more- adds some emphasis and sturdy support: this time her voice is much more electrified and pulsating. The E.P. is a confident triumph, from a duo that seem ready-made for one another: there is a kinship and intuitive understanding between the two which comes through in the music. The lyrics and music are fascinating and detailed: every listener can relate to what is being said, and how it is projected. Connelly’s vocals are powerfully imploring and tenderly delicate: able to shift from a crystalline falsetto to a belting tenor- few other vocalists have such a range and quality. Granger’s tones are gorgeous and powerful, too: adding necessary colour, support and etherealness- they beautifully parabond with Connelly’s. Guitar, keys and percussive notes are swelling, direct and varied: Blues and Rock tones fuse seamlessly with Pop and Indie shades. Away from the E.P. (and the positivity it is receiving), El Born are set to release their debut L.P. In anticipation of the album’s release, they are releasing a new single: You Made Me (it will be unveiled on July 7th). The future is going to be an exciting and adventurous one for the duo- make sure you check them out. Their fan numbers are rising, and it seems like their ambitions grow with every passing month: you can hear this come through in their music. June and July see the London-based twosome embark on a string of tour dates: taking in venues across the U.K., Granger and Connelly will be very busy indeed. On the evidence of Kangaroo (and the E.P., as well as the latest single), it will be fascinating to see what happens next: what the album will sound like, and what is in the minds of our enduring and glistening duo. Modern music sees too many negatives: narrow and bland ambition; samey and generic groups; few wonderful moments. It is comforting to hear El Born- an act that will succumb to none of these aspects, and prosper hard for many years. The music industry needs to engage in supplication: embrace and behold acts that have something genuine to say, and do it with soul- and ensure that its authors have a necessary platform and assured longevity. El Born may have had an inauspicious start to their careers- Connelly struggling to make ends meet, etc.- yet the music they provide is instilled with a sense of effortlessness: as though this is what they should be doing in life- that naturalness and sense of contentment shines through. With fresh music afoot, I would advise you investigate the Kangaroo E.P.- its title track and all it has to offer- and drink it in. One thing is certain: as 2014 ticks by; as the days roll on…
WE will be hearing a great deal from this duo.
Follow El Born:
El Born’s music can be accessed at:
Tour dates available via:
Hairy Dog, Derby
Thursday, June 5 @ 8:00 PM
Debut Derby show
Age limit: 18+
Friday, June 6 @ 9:00 PM
Returning to one of our favourite U.K. venues.
Age limit: 18+
Saturday, June 7 @ 8:00 PM
El Born debut for the first time at this amazing venue and city. Supporting Misty’s Big Adventure
Age limit: 18+
Thursday, June 19 @ 8:00 PM
El Born return to co-headline this legendary London venue. Last time El Born sold this venue out, so book now to avoid disappointment. Co-headline show with Adam Isaacs
£5 T: 0844 847 2424
Age limit: 18+
Thursday, June 26 @ 8:00 PM
El Born return to this wonderful touring venue.
01483 440 022
Age limit: 18+
Haslemere Fringe Festival, Haslemere
Friday, July 4 @ 3:00 PM
Haslemere Fringe Festival, Haslemere, Surrey, GB
We can’t wait to play this amazing festival.
Age limit: All ages
Saturday, July 5 @ 8:00 PM
El Born return to this wonderful venue for an intimate acoustic performance. Perfect setting, so grab tickets now.
Age limit: 18+
Monday, July 7 @ 7:00 PM
Single release date.
Exclusive Secret Event
Monday, July 7 @ 8:00 PM
Exclusive secret event. Details will be disclosed at the time.
Cellars at Eastney, Portsmouth
Saturday, July 12 @ 8:00 PM
Age limit: All ages
Thursday, July 24 @ 8:00 PM
Returning to Leicester.
Age limit: All ages
Friday, July 25 @ 8:00 PM
Returning to Leeds to support City of Lights
Age limit: 18+
New Adelphi, Hull
Saturday, July 26 @ 8:00 PM
El Born return to Hull and this legendary music venue to support City of Lights
Age limit: 18+
Tramlines Festival, Sheffield
Sunday, July 27 @ 3:00 PM
El Born are so stoked to be taking part in this year’s Tramlines Festival.
Age limit: All ages