Friday 8 February 2013

Elephant Stone - Elephant Stone

Album review by

It was the superlative 'Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin' that drew Montreal's Elephant Stone to our attention back in 2011, a sunkissed psychedelic track from the upper echelons of jangly guitar heaven. That single is included here and, if anything, sounds even better now it's had time to age, but if Elephant Stone fail to gain wider recognition it will destined to become a lost classic. Their debut album had already been released by that point and failed to set the world alight (we're ashamed to say we still haven't heard it), but three years on they release this self-titled follow-up with their name etched a little more forcefully into popular music's alternative hall of fame. In 'Elephant Stone' have they made that album that deserves the wider recognition we mentioned?

You'd better believe it. 'Elephant Stone' is damn near perfect; a multi-dimensional psych-pop masterpiece with some killer tunes. The only other band doing this kind of thing to a similar level at the moment are unsung British heroes The See See. Like them? You'll love these guys. 'Setting Sun' is in the running for best opening track of the year and stylistically is in a similar place to 'Love The Sinner...', but there's more to them than that. If you heard recent single 'Heavy Moon' then you'll have spotted a different side to the band. Less immediate, the track has more in common with psych-rock bands than the Byrds-style melodists; it was a curveball at the time but now it's had time to be worn in it fits the record perfectly, and shows another side to the band's music.

It is those summery jangling delights that are Elephant Stone's secret weapons though. How can a sane human being feel no emotions towards 'Masters Of War' or 'Looking Through Baby Blue'? Fans of mid-period Teenage Fanclub will fall for 'Hold Onto Yr Soul'. 'A Silent Moment' is the monumental piece of music that everyone hoped The Verve's ill-fated comeback would produce and brings in an eastern influence that stays around for the swirling 'Sally Go Round The Sun' and the 60s-influenced epic 'The Sea Of Your Mind'. Elephant Stone have a huge claim to be the best unknown band out there. Let's hope we can banish the word "unknown" from that sentence by the year's end.

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