Deriving their name from the Icelandic explorer, believed to be the first Westerner to reach the shores of the Americas, the London-based indie rock quintet Leif Erikson, comprised of Sam Johnston, Oliver Wright, Tom Leader, Greg Austin and Giles Robinson, can trace their origins to the breakup and reunion (of sorts) of the band’s previous iteration, Flashguns. The band’s self-titled debut effort was released last year to critical praise from the likes of Stereogum, Clash Magazine and The Line of Best Fit.
The British quintet’s latest single, the shimmering and atmospheric “Matter” is the first bit of new material since their self-titled effort, and is a bit of a taste of what to expect from a forthcoming EP slated for release early next year. Interestingly, the track is a bold step forward for the band as it finds them gently pushing their sound in a new direction, with the song nodding towards 70s AM radio rock while retaining a cinematic quality; thanks in part to an arrangement featuring dramatic piano arrangement, shimmering guitar lines, shuffling drumming and Johnston’s soulful crooning. But underneath the easy-going self-assuredness of the song, Johnston’s narrator find himself asking much larger questions about life and time, which he recognizes he won’t have easy answers for.
As the band’s Sam Johnston explains in press notes, the song was the band’s attempt “to capture something esoteric about life’s purpose, about making the right choices and following the path that is right for you. What it is to be human and be given this existence that is such a bizarre miracle, but can also be full of pain and struggles. Are there any clues within the infinite universe, a tiny blip of which we occupy or is everything simply the product of chaos? We were very inspired by Curtis Mayfield‘s album ‘Roots’ when thinking about ‘Matter’. He so effortlessly makes these incredible statements about life and society over these stunning, super funky musical arrangements.”