Elan Vital_2016Élan Vital are an intriguing dark and danceable trio from Dunedin. After an early song “Albtraum” surfaced on a compilation late last year they’ve just released their first single proper, called “Janina” which you can stream and download free/ pay what you like from their Bandcamp page.

“Janina” is one of the (many) highlights of their impressive live performances. Performances which often incorporate the visuals of Lady Lazer Light – visual and video artist Erica Sklenars. Lady Lazer Light’s video for the song combines fake palm trees, swirling foggy mist and black and white images to create a perfect visual setting for the song.

The music of Élan Vital is an unusual combination of darkly psychedelic garage organ sounds and a more European synth-pop stylishness. Having two keyboards working together and no guitars gives the music a dense swirl. Using analogue drum machines, vocoder and other effects gives their set a satisfying and diverse range of moods, from feedback-strafed soundtrack instrumentals to upliftingly gloomy melodic pop.

The band is comprised of Renee Barrance (keyboards, effects, vocals), Danny Brady (synths, drum machines, electronics, live mixing) and Nikolai Sim (bass). Renee and Danny first jammed in Berlin, where they were both living a few years ago, before each finding their way to Dunedin years apart.  You can read more about the origins of the band and what “Janina” is about in a short interview with Renee on Noisey.

Danny’s other current band – Death And The Maiden – also originated in Berlin, so there’s a case for that European cultural capital being something of a musical and spiritual sister city to 21st century Dunedin.

Élan Vital are on tour in NZ this weekend and play at Borderline Festival at Aucklands’ Whammy Bar.

elan vital tour landscape