“Sensational…so good you’d think we made him up” Guardian
“As fizzing Technicolour pop highs go, Meanwhile is as good as it gets” NME
“The songs suggest an almost uncontainable talent…extraordinary” Sunday Times Breaking Act
“Full of colourful bombast and panache…raucous and intriguing. Just listen” Noisey
“You won’t hear a more supremely assured debut this year” DIY
Meanwhile has unveiled his debut video for ‘All For The Taking’, taken from the forthcoming EP ‘The Element Yes’ (released December 1via Fiction/Universal). With additional support across Radio 1 (including Zane Lowe’s Next Hype), 6Music and XFM, and following a sold-out warm-up show at Sebright Arms, Meanwhile is the sole support for La Roux on tour across the UK & Europe in November and December (which included a date at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire on November 12).
The newly-unveiled video for ‘All For The Taking’ twists the track’s tale of unrecquited love through a series of surreal, vaguely-unsettling abstract images. Describing the clip, Meanwhile says “I wanted the visual dynamic to be represented in such a way that took the viewer on the journey through the questions I’m asking myself – trying to decide the best forward through a tough situation. The director Jake nailed this concept by using visual metaphors that correspond to the lyrics, and by having me ‘face the situation’ head on at the end of the song.”
A singer, producer and film score writer, the early glimpses of Meanwhile – February’s thunderous ‘Luvletta’, the escapist rush of ‘Bigger City’ – hinted at an audacious young talent. Written and produced from his bedroom in a small town off the M3, 23-year-old Tom Andrews became transfixed at a young age by the visual film scores of Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, and began composing ambitious instrumental pieces after school at the piano. He sought to take what he learned there and channel it through the hip-hop productions of Madlib and the larger-than-life pop of his parents’ record collection (Prince, Bowie). An intended tattoo to tackle anxiety – “Meanwhile” – gave birth to a colourful alter-ego, and the tensions that would persist through songs which are simultaneously outlandish and honest, confident but conflicted.
Meanwhile’s debut EP, ‘The Element Yes’, is a suitably cinematic soundtrack of one’s turbulent formative years, but its DIY roots are closer to The Home Counties than Hollywood Hills. ‘Icarus’ is a fidgety, restless blend of hip-hop beats with futuristic funk, a snapshot of small-town boredom taking flight (“I know there’s more fight in you Icarus”). Penned in two hours after Meanwhile’s then-band imploded – and the first song he ever wrote and self-produced – it’s ultimately about friendship and moving forward; a story which is picked up again on ‘Apples & Oranges’, in its meditative but lighter-waving account of those bonds which remain tight, no matter the differences. Elsewhere, Meanwhile takes an escapist lens to suburban lust and loss: the more experimental ‘All For The Taking’ is a surprising mix of four-to-the-floor beats with a heavy crash of guitars, capturing that chaos of early infatuation. Glam-infused closer ‘AAIU’, however, falls back down to earth: imagined as “a funeral of summer”, it accepts a doomed romance but also celebrates the value your time spent together. As the surging piano outro kicks in, all that’s missing is the fade-to-black and closing credits.
Widescreen but intimate, ‘The Element Yes’ takes its name, in part, from those lessons learned in awkward adolescence. It’s this idea that positivity itself is almost chemical, and a building block for whatever life you want. His debut EP traces those big themes of growing up but maintaining your innocence, of reinventing yourself but also telling the truth, in the eternal pursuit of that element. With it, anything is possible. Just ask Meanwhile.
*with La Roux*
Fri 28th Nov Nantes FR Stereolux
Sat 29th Nov Paris FR Bataclan
Mon 1st Dec Lille FR Stereolux
Wed 3rd Dec Brussels BE Botanique
Thu 4th Dec Berlin DE Berghain
Fri 5th Dec Cologne DE Stollwerck
Sun 7th Dec Frankfurt DE Gibson
Tue 9th Dec Hamburg DE Mojo Club
Wed 10th Dec Amsterdam NE Paradiso