Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone

Written by: BV on 27/09/2013 20:44:00

Elephant Stone is both the name of a Stone Roses song as well as a Canadian psych-pop band. – At first glance they might have very little to do with each other, but I do believe I can pick up a bit of Stone Roses in the indie-psychedelic imagery of Elephant Stone. Led by Rishi Dhir, a sitar-player notable for playing with various psychedelic outfits prior to starting Elephant Stone, this outfit focuses on eastern-flavored yet concise psych-pop songs that rarely exceed the five-minute mark – thus appearing as a veritable counterpart to much other psychedelic music released these days.

Opening with “Setting Sun”, the Indian inspirations from both music and spirituality are clear from the start. The lyric “A setting sun is not an ending / A setting sun can be our light to get us right” underlines a strong influence of the concept of rebirth, whilst the musical backdrop bears a droning similarity to eastern music with an added western-influenced sense of poppy melody so as to not let the droning take a complete hold over the track. The droning sitar-influence continues strongly on “Heavy Moon” where the drone begins to take a powerful hold on the songwriting. The steadiness and simplicity of the bass, the constant tones of the sitar and the nearly chanted vocal melody makes for a meditative listen one could float away to, whilst it never really becomes exuberantly uninteresting.

As we progress to “A Silent Moment” the influence of spirituality seems unwavering and hell-bent on maintaining a presence throughout the album. As the underlying pop melody and shimmering drones lays down the foundation of the track, the lyric “I can hear all that you have sent me / In my silent moment / To be one within you / To be not without you / To be as I once was” takes the shape of a mantra, rather than a traditional vocal melody – thus empowering the spiritual and psychedelic atmosphere of the track. All of this is also supported by a table-player somewhere around the middle of the track, which reinforces the eastern flavors as well.

In spite of Elephant Stone’s ability to maintain somewhat pop-esque song lengths throughout most of the album, the track “The Sea of Your Mind” sets out to destroy this pattern by clocking in at nearly nine minutes. As the track drones through the same pattern for the entire duration of the track, only slightly colored by various instrument leads, it stands as a pivotal example of the incorporation of psychedelia on this album, but also maintains a certain weakness to it when compared to the rest of the album where the songwriting is strong and concise – as opposed to the free-floating ramifications of this particular track. Whilst being interesting on its own, it manages to seem awfully misplaced on an otherwise concise album – it acts as a necessary dynamic counterpart but still comes off as too dominant when all is said and done.

In essence, Elephant Stone is getting closer to figuring out what their sound is all about, their flair for pop-esque arrangements is beginning to shine through and the influence of modern-day psychedelia shines bright. However, they have yet got some bases to cover before they are truly exceptional. Nonetheless, this is a great sophomore release by a band I will be following closely.

8

Download: Setting Sun, A Silent Moment, Masters of War
For The Fans Of: The Setting Son, The Black Angels, Jacco Gardner
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.02.2013
Hidden Pony Records / The Reverberation Appreciation Society


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