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Simon Tong has strummed a guitar in some pretty heavy-duty combos over the last twenty years – The Verve, Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, and Blur. Those are some of the more important British bands of the era calling on Tong for his services. Needless to say, when he starts a new band, attention must be paid.
Erland and the Carnival is Tong’s new venture in partnership with an Orkney folkie by the name of Erland Cooper. Together, they’ve made a name for themselves performing an updated form of indie-folk, honoring the traditions of folk music but unafraid to put a modern spin on them.
With “Trouble in Mind,” the title track of their second EP, Erland and the Carnival support a gentle but urgent folk melody with tiptoeing electronics and Tong’s precise and genteel riffage. It’s a track not far removed from the work of Neil Halstead or ‘60s baroque poppers like The Left Banke.
“I didn’t mean to disappoint you,” Cooper sings. “I’m just sorry that I had to.” It’s an unnecessary apology to anyone listening. Erland and the Carnival have nothing to regret with “Trouble in Mind.” Simon Tong’s winning streak continues unbroken.