The essence of ephemerals is hard to define as they are a band that have continuously evolved throughout their four albums to date... At their outset they were in the classic soul mould, six outstanding musicians playing incredible songs courtesy of Hillman Mondegreen and backing a one off singer – Wolfgang Valbrun. Acclaim quickly followed with their debut album hitting number 1 on the Hype Machine chart and the usual industry scramble to sign them away from their independent label home.
That classic sounding love album spawned a runaway hit when their song ‘you made us change’ was reworked by French dance artist Kungs into a huge radio record which hit the A list at Radio 1 in the UK and topped radio charts all over the world.
Rather than continue their trajectory on the classic soul path, for their second album they delivered the dark and brooding ‘chasin ghosts’ – a record about death that meditated on themes including nihilism and suicide. Standout tracks like ‘you’ll never see me cry’ and ‘everyday killers’ showcased the bands ability to write outstanding and honest songs despite the band’s polarising shift in emotion.
Third album ‘egg tooth’ was a glorious Alice Coltrane inspired litany on re-incarnation and rebirth. Moving the band still further from their soul roots with experimental jazz and hip hop beats combining with yoga spirituality, and Gil Scott Heron style spoken-word influences.
Throughout all these changes the band toured constantly, their fan base evolving in tune with their sound. During their travels across Europe they played stages from the biggest festivals to the smallest squat parties and picked up high profile radio support from the likes of BBC 6Music (Gilles Peterson) to 3FM in Holland to Radio Eins in Berlin.
The fourth album from ephemerals, ‘the third eye’ sees them build and develop the work they started on egg tooth as they continue their always-intriguing musical journey.
As with all their albums the core of the work is built from the honest and incisive writing of Hillman Mondegreen combined with the unmistakably emotive vocal delivery of singer Wolfgang Valbrun. The latest album reflects on Hillman’s transgender experience but as always its themes are universal especially when interpreted by the growl of front man Wolf.