Elephant Stone

Ship of Fools

Written by: BV on 14/12/2016 11:52:42

If you had told me back in 2013 that Elephant Stone would go on to deviate quite a lot from the sound I had come to know and love on their self-titled album, I would have scoffed and dismissed the notion. It is, however, the truth. Both on “The Three Poisons” from 2014 and on this year’s “Ship of Fools”, Elephant Stone seem to grow quite a bit more electronic – which is not entirely a bad thing as electronic elements can add excitement to already promising tracks. However, when the results are bland to begin with you can’t really expect to boost it by adding superfluous sounds.

Please don’t get me wrong here – “Manipulator”, the album’s opening track, is in and of itself a fairly decent track. But it never really evolves further from that. It’s highly predictable but well-produced and well-played. - Which, in turn, characterizes most of what’s going on here on “Ship of Fools”. “Cast the First Stone” has a slightly groovy bass-line driving the song towards some kind of foot-tapping acceptance from me, as a listener. It never quite extends beyond that though, in spite of the track having some fairly cool guitar parts when they actually come around. Likewise there is not much criticism to place on front-man Rishi Dhir’s vocals as he basically nails them and makes them quite suitable for the overall vibe of the album.

In other words I really need to make it abundantly clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the musicianship on display here – nothing whatsoever. What I take issue with, is actually the quality of the songwriting and the direction in which Elephant Stone are moving and have been moving in for quite some time now. - A direction which, in lack of a better word, needs direction. It sounds so far off from the self-titled album that “Masters of War” or “Setting Sun” (both from the self-titled album) might have been tracks by a completely different band, had it not been for Dhir’s characteristic voice giving it all away. “The Devil’s Shelter” is a redeeming track in many ways, as it takes the grooves and sounds of “Ship of Fools” and translates them into something with quite a bit of substance to it. Likewise “Silence Can Say So Much” is a gorgeous, near-beautiful track with its simple premise and Indian-influence.

But a couple of great tracks can only save so much. For me, “Ship of Fools” is a mediocre album by greatly talented musicians. That’s a damn shame, but hopefully I’m wrong according to general consensus, meaning there is still a crowd out there for Elephant Stone. I personally think I’m going to take the easy way out and jump ship.

Download: The Devil’s Shelter, Silence Can Say So Much
For The Fans Of: Holy Wave, Wall of Death, Morgan Delt
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 16.09.2016
Burger Records

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