Show of hands, who spent most of quarantine fantasizing about international travel and the exquisite experiences that come with it? I’d wager it’s most of us, including Elephant Castle, who gets lost in the daydream in his new retro indie rock single, “French Food”.
Though it’s undoubtedly a rock song, it’s soft and hazy around the edges, giving it that hot and dreamy late-summer feel. Phil Danyew’s tenor voice serenades over a bubbling bass reminiscent of 60s psychedelic rock, creating a sunny summer soundscape perfect for golden hour drives down palm tree-lined avenues. During the second verse, the listener is introduced to a second guitar line, subtly hidden underneath the main melody. It acts as a balance to the main guitar’s gritty sound and adds a certain retro groove that was missing from the first verse. Hypnotic synths flood the bridge, drastically changing the tone of the song- an unexpected but carefully crafted twist- even if for just a few measures; all of this to say that “French Food” is a masterclass in layering sounds and influence to keep an audience’s attention.
What makes this song so special is the way it sonically conveys the daydream the lyrics describe. The way the harmonies burst open on the hook are transcendent, making it sound like it’s quite literally otherworldly, even if the other world is in your own head. Its production is clean with just enough edge to reflect how even the clearest daydream is still a dream at the end of the day, and not a tangible reality. There’s something new to be heard with every listen of “French Food,” so you better get this one on repeat ASAP.
Elephant Castle comes from the creative mind of Phil Daynew. The project first came to life in 2020 with the release of his debut single “Cool to be Unhappy,” which was met with critical acclaim from Rolling Stone. Before that, he had been writing and recording music since the age of twelve, and was a touring member of Foster the People for six years before leaving to work on his own music. Elephant Castle is the amalgamation of the 50s and 60s rock that made him fall in love with music in the first place. With “French Food” being his seventh single, we’re excited to see where these psychedelic dreams take him next.
Written by Jess Ward