There’s an intoxicating air to strolling through a big city at night. From the polished, neon-hued streets of the centre, to the seedy stories written behind illuminated suburban bedroom windows, it can feel like a paradise for runaway imaginations. Roaming the capital with the dull hum of a hangover nestled in the back of your skull and a soundtrack on your headphones is one of city life’s greatest pleasures – you could weave any sordid fantasy you like out of rain-soaked pavements and dismantled market stalls. London band Pelicandy’s new “Animals” track and video, which we’re premiering below, perfectly captures that fizzing, midnight spirit. Pairing hooky 1980s pop with the kind of off-kilter sleaze that makes them sound like weird pop rather than straight-up chart filler, the track is the perfect antidote to the sludgy gloom of winter, and comes alongside an uplifting clip that’ll have you seeking out the nearest dancefloor. In the same way Metronomy once bottled the bleary-eyed 4AM haze on album Nights Out, Pelicandy’s debut single shimmers with the distant memory of that post-pre-drinks feeling, as you scurried from night bus to cold queue, giddy with anticipation, stomach bubbling with substances.
Brought up in a myriad of London’s mould-soaked rehearsal rooms, the four-piece – guitarist/vocalist TC, bassist Junior, keyboardist Stefan and drummer Nick – weave both glamour and grit throughout their maximalist pop. After releasing the somewhat gloomier “In Echoes” back at the start of 2017, they drew “Animals” out of “the party district” of their collective psyche, TC says, as a means of offering something different to the misery-pop of bedroom producers and grunge revivalists that have become a popular sound in the capital. “You don’t get many bands trying to write a pop song,” he says, stressing the ‘p’ of that once dirty word. “I’d like to think between us, we’ve got enough of a pop sensibility.” It’s a concoction that came together in a Hackney basement, where TC’s past efforts in rock and indie fused with Nick’s “pop man” background; the pair played off each other's strengths, with Nick helping temper TC’s fears of coming across too saccharine. “There’s a level where you’re like, ‘Is this just cheese, or is it a good hook?’,” the frontman explains. “Pretty much every great pop song is cheesy, but you don’t care, because it’s good.” He speaks of a desire to capture the pinnacle of both pop and rock, where hooks weren’t something to push against: “You go back to, like, the Pixies, and their songs are full of hooks!” he enthuses. In the same way Prince and INXS captured a “very bombastic” fusion of rock and pop, Pelicandy want to capture the ‘up to 11’ spirit of that musical heyday. “We’ve got these insane, Phil Collins drum sounds, Prince drum sounds,” TC says with a grin, “so everything’s like, ‘BAM, BAM, BAM!’” Junior agrees: “If you’re gonna do it, do it big.”
It’s a mood that’s captured in the new “Animals”’ video, too – directed by fashion industry figure Renée Rodenkirchen, whose other work has included clips and photography for Chanel, Gucci, Pusha T and Oprah. The clip is centred on a mysterious, dancing figure (played by model Roney Lewis), slinking his way around Toronto’s Chinatown as awed onlookers watch on from their shopfronts and windows. “He kind of has this effortless cool factor to him,” says Rodenkirchen, “like he doesn't really give a shit, but at the same time is super talented and polished as a dancer.” Citing Francis and The Lights, Blood Orange and Kate Bush as touchpoints, both TC and Junior admit to wanting something visually dance-heavy to compliment the track. “Roney kind of did this… street ballet,” TC says with a smile, “contemporary street ballet, and it all came together. “Having it somewhere like Toronto, too, was sweet” he continues. “I like that it’s going to be hard for people to place where this is. It looks somewhat American or Canadian, and it’s in Chinatown… we’re a London band, so people probably assume it’s going to be shot in east London,“ he says, laughing. It’s fitting, really, because the vibe of “Animals” isn’t contained to any one city. It’s a three-and-a-half minute encapsulation of young lust and nighttime smut that transcends geographical boundaries. As Pelicandy ready a bunch more releases in the run-up to a suitably hedonistic festival season, it feels as if they’re bringing a long lost, sordid sexuality back to pop.You can find Tom on Twitter.