Song of the Day: Hey Elbow – Quest

Song of the Day
11/22/2017
KEXP
photo by Mattias Albinsson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Quest” by Hey Elbow, a single which is available now via Adrian Recordings.

Hey Elbow – Quest (MP3)

Fun fact: Malmö art-pop trio Hey Elbow originally took their name from an aerobic exercise they learned while waiting for a concert from fellow Swedes The Knife to start. From the sound of the band's latest single, however, it's clear that they've moved past the warm-ups. The group has a penchant for delivering dreamy pop that blends a refined, jazzy finesse with the otherworldly aura of ambient music, and "Quest" might be their most gossamer concoction yet.

Kicking off with a drum beat that might sound like a military march were it not so drenched in reverb, the track hits its stride with a spindly, Grizzly Bear-esque guitar lick, gradually picking up steam as Julia Ringdahl's angelic vocals enter the picture. The band's quirkiest lineup feature may be the inclusion of a full-time flugelhorn player, and the way Ellen Petersson decorates "Quest" with her triumphant brass notes proves itself to be a masterclass in restraint and tonal coloring. About two minutes in, the song shifts gears into an absolute marathon race to the end of the track, with Ringdahl's voice circling about the clamoring drums and billowing synthesizers, bringing the whole thing to a spellbinding fever pitch. Once it suddenly ends, you can practically see the multicolored cloud of dust Hey Elbow has left in their wake.

No tour dates on their schedule yet, but follow the band on Facebook for the latest news. And check out a video below for today's featured track, directed by the band themselves.

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