The new single “Elmer” by the Los Angeles-based band Younger Hunger is so clever in its trickery. Anchored by a minimalist bass /snare beat of a drum machine and vocals that are up front and pronto like the indiest of indie recordings, the song weasels its way into the hipster world by crafting a DIY aesthetic that mirrors the garage-y feel of a laptop musician and arms it with rhythmic vocals of a Soundcloud rapper. But when you deconstruct it and really separate its parts, it has the makings of a boy band hit single. That’s not a diss at all… in fact, it’s high praise. The ability to appeal to those who loved the first Tegan & Sara album with the crowd who loved Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” is a talent that’s should be envied by any band trying to make it in the indie pop world. Judging from “Elmer” and their earlier single, the shout-y “Yung” (which could be a lost outtake from that sole, celebrated New Radicals album), Younger Hunger are a pretty talented trio.
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Wrapping the music around lyrics about the allure and sneakiness of infidelity, Younger Hunger also show that not only are they masters of musical chicanery but also know a thing or two about maneuvering around relationships.
“It was written loosely around the plot of Brokeback Mountain,” explains Tony Davia, about the perils depicted in the song’s narrative of wanting more in a taboo relationship. Shuffling between the lo-fi guitar samples and programmed beats, they sing, “Why’d you hide me from your girlfriends / like I hide you from my girlfriend,” pouring out that outward insecurity of wanting personal discretion while begging for more. “’Elmer’ is a song about a pair of people cheating on their partners with each other, and the feelings and confusions that come along with it,” he adds.
A product of Gen-Z, “Elmer” is fascinating in its simplicity and its ability to transcend genres and styles… its polarity inextricably entwined. While young bands like Five Seconds of Summer ultimately failed in a shifty industry that begin a migration away from studio polish and overthought-out melodies, Younger Hunger take a far more elementary approach when it came to “Elmer.” Instead of laboring over the track, they kept it short and simple with a boost of Nintendo-fuel to keep it firmly planted in Gen-Z.
“’Elmer’ was written at the tail end of a long writing spree, just as an acoustic song,” Davia explains, revealing that the single was pretty much a toss off. “We didn’t think much of it until we showed it to our producer, Adam. He chopped up the acoustic guitar part and made it sound glitchy like a video game, which is when we really fell in love with the track… The whole song was written in about an hour.”
The fact that the song was written so quickly and remains so dang memorable is their greatest trickery of all.