Hailing from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Elephant Gym are a math rock trio who’re a pleasing tension of opposites. Driven by a heavy bass (the Elephant) yet lithe and agile (the Gym) the bands latest single “Dear Humans” encapsulates their wonderful juxtapositions and wraps them up in pastel shades and warm textures.
Siblings KT (bassist) and guitarist Tell Chang were schooled in classical music and that becomes immediately obvious in the cascading, tinkling keys that heralds “Dear Humans” arrival. Gently falling and standing stark against a white background the song soon bursts into life with a jaunty motif that skips with an effervescence and continues to shape shift over four minutes. After its rather sombre, haunting opening “Dear Humans” takes in post-rock and elements of funk whilst Tell adds some light jazz flourishes over which KT’s vocals float ethereally. That may all sound a tad eclectic but Elephant Gym manage to bring these disparate elements together and roll them into a cohesive whole.
In Chia-Chin Tu the band have the Albert Einstein of drummers and his busy, understated style allows Elephant Gym to fuse genres as he switches time signatures with apparent ease. “Dear Humans” is full of light and shade as the bass rumble nestles ‘twixt the bright and fragile guitar lines with each acting as a foil to highlight the other. Often math rock can be soulless and sterile as the listener is lost in a maze of complexity yet “Dear Humans”, despite its invention and high-mindedness, remains easily accessible, and that’s because this triplex never let melody out of their sight and subsequently renders their songs instantly memorable and strangely danceable.
Since their formation in 2012 there’s been many accolades and highlights for Elephant Gym (including triumphant appearances at SXSW and the UK’s ArcTanGent) but “Dear Humans” signposts a bright future.
“Dear Humans” is available to download and stream now.