Today, Toronto outfit Elephants And Stars sharetheirnew EPrelease Get Your Own Army with the leadoff single “Bled Out at the Scene,” a Cars/Springsteen-influenced rocker that once again showcased the band’s uncanny ability to find the dark heart beating away at pop music’s gooey center with a chorus that gets in your head and stays there. Frontman Manfred Stittmann‘s meditation about an acrimonious breakup made it easy to pump your fist and cry into your beer—maybe even at the same time.
With the EP’s second single “Gimme Ketamine,” Elephants And Stars deliver the ultimate summer anthem with an infectiously catchy rocker that sees the band wearing the influence of groups like The Gaslight Anthem and The Goo Goo Dolls on its sleeve.
Listen in here:
Again, though, surface impressions can be deceiving, with Stittmann exploring the tension between individual conviction and social pressure, offering biting lines like “Let’s crucify everyone who disagrees” in a way that one just can’t help but sing-along with.
“If you look at a mega-popular hit like ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police,” says Stittman, “just think how many people have played that song at weddings and occasions like that thinking it’s this heartfelt love ballad, when in truth it’s sung from the point of view of a stalker. I listen to a lot of really dark, heavy stuff like death metal and punk, but those lyrics don’t connect with me as much when the words and the sound align too closely. They end up canceling each other out. To me, death metal is almost party music even though I take the playing very seriously.”
“On the other hand,” he continues, “bubblegum pop usually doesn’t do it for me. I need some contrast—that feels more lifelike to me because, if you think about it, life is contrast. And I feel like that’s what we’re craving in art that seeks to be more than just entertainment, at least I do. I like to be entertained too, but I like to think this band can do both. You can sip your beer and play our songs at a cookout, or you can put them on to dwell on whatever you need to dwell on. I’m not the most profound songwriter, but I like to think our music can be there for you at whatever level you need it to be in the moment.”
The band’s follow-up to their 2022 full-length Last Chance Power Drive, Get Your Own Army was produced by Steve Chahley and mixed by Ron Hawkins of alt-rock legends Lowest Of The Low. Elephants And Stars is the third project formed around the long-running creative partnership of Manfred Stittmann and bassist Mike MacMillan, both of whom also formed the core of the late-’90s/early-2000s groups Soap Opera and The First Time.
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