Monday, August 24, 2009

Review -- ELEPHANT STONE -- The Seven Seas

THE SEVEN SEAS
Elephant Stone
Independent
8-out-of-10

There is a duality to Elephant Stone's The Seven Seas. That is to say the music here seems drawn from two quite diverse worlds.
Let's start with the best aspect from this Montreal-based band.
There are a number of cuts here where Elephant Stone highlights instrumental efforts, and those efforts are an excellent blending of soft rock and the traditional sounds of India. Quite intriguing musically.
That said, it is the fifth song, Blood From A Stone before we hear this wonderful sound.
The initial songs on the disk are quite different. They are the songs where Elephant Stone adds vocals, such as the Bombs Bomb Away. The song starts the album, and the listener immediately begins to think of 1960's British rock. The band itself calls their style powerpop, which I suppose works for listeners that have no connection back to the 1960s, but my graying hair shows I am old enough to recall that era musically. It has the same general pacing, and the lyrics are reminiscent of an era where rock was very much a music of social protest.
How Long follows, and again you hear the same root elements at play here.
The first four songs hold to the same pattern, before shifting to the Indian sounds that are so compelling.
Elephant Stone does a nice job of the retro-rock-influenced material too. The problem is that it is quite divergent from the Indian-influenced instrumental sectors of the album.
Generally such divergent paths would be quite upsetting to this listener. I like an album that stays the course, or at least makes somewhat expected twists and turns.
These two styles don't really seem to connect. That said the connection here is likely Stone Elephant lead singer Rishi Dhir.
Yet, at the end of the CD I am still left feeling quite satisfied.
It is probably a case where the rock numbers are that softer 60's style, which at least leaves the leap to the ethnic-influenced instrumental rock is on the same continent, even if it is on seemingly opposite sides of a mountain range.
The two sounds are decidedly different, both being solid in their own right. The divergence is a bit extreme, yet I am still satisfied as the listener.
Well worth a pick-up because Stone Elephant does what they do very well.
Check them out at www.elephantstonemusic.com

-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 19, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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