Erland & the Carnival’s Erland Cooper might just be the coolest man working in rock today. While it seems that the rest of the indie world is being inherited by the geek, Cooper attacks everything he does with the same effortless swagger, an inimitable confidence that gives him the air of a seventies throwback on stage: he somehow managed to pull off wearing big black shades on a rainy afternoon in south Wales at his band’s appearance at Green Man last year. His multi-instrumentalist band-mate Simon Tong has nothing to be coy about either – having performed with the Verve and Damon Albarn in just about every act the latter has established over the past few years, Tong is possibly the perfect foil of experience to Cooper’s youthful exuberance. Together, their sense of what they want their music to be is a refreshing thing in a world of chameleonic, mercurial rock acts.
This, the title track from E&tC’s Nightingale, due out on Monday via Full Time Hobby, is an almost perfect distillation of what the band is about, and a wonderful demonstration of their unwavering self-belief. Simon Tong’s piercing synths build a pounding, anthemic foundation, while Cooper is in a pensive, slightly subdued mood in the chorus’ refrain of “leaving me broke, leaving me shattered.” It doesn’t represent a vast sonic shift from the first record, but there’s a more accomplished, complete feel to the band’s sound – this is decidedly not an act with second-album anxieties. If nothing else, ‘Nightingale’ is a timely reminder that no-one else out there is doing anything quite like Erland & the Carnival.