Elephant Stone - Ship Of Fools - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Elephant Stone - Ship Of Fools

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2016-09-23

We maybe entering a new sound onboard Ship Of Fools the 4th album by Toronto's Daydream Trippers; Elephant Stone. The band still holds its own with Rishi Dhir - Vocals. Sitar, Bass, Keys, Gabriel Lambert - Guitar, B. Vocals, and Miles Dupire - Drums, B.Vocals.

The initial impression from hearing 'Manipulator' is it's a bold eclectic mix since 2014's heavyweight The Three Poisons.  The approach here seems to be 90s electro-pop/dance music delivering the psych experience, no seriously, even though there begins some bluesy guitar riffery, the production is less organic and more retro glossy. There are some fine female backing vocals on here and it has to be mentioned that this first song bears an uncanny resemblance in the chorus to Grace's Not Over Yet' carried off in a Beck/Primal Scream-ish fashion.

Disco Synth basslines, shimmering guitars and catchy smooth harmonius vocals on 'Where I'm Going', give a club vibe, though it sounds like a few acts we have seen such as Hot Chip and NZCA Lines, mainly due to pop song structure and higher-end vocals by Rishi. It's hard not to think of Happy Mondays meets Depeche Mode with 'Cast The First Stone'  featuring some latin Clave pattern, a baggy melody lounging over a steady groove, which then at the end turns into a dust kicking stormy electro stomper.

When the dust has settled we find a slower John Lennon-type delivery on 'Photograph' and the vocal comparisons are evident amongst wooden bass, reverbed guitar, tabla and tasteful sitar on 'Run, Sister, Run'. Straight forward, bright and luminous is 'See The Light', which has some synth flute arpeggios, keeping it buoyant and optimistic. Even airier is early 80s's soft rock 'Love Is Like A Spinning Wheel', that seems subliminally ghostly forms of Gerry Rafferty and Martin Courtney alternately possessing Rishi's vocal space, not to mention the seething fuzz guitar tone. This is complimented by the vast synths, delayed guitar and tabla filled cosmic Beatles-esque 'Andromeda'.

There is a somewhat Kasabian rhythmic pulse with David Bowie melodic phrasing found on'The Devils Shelter' - Featuring the wailing of The Black Angels vocalist Alex Maas, followed by simple layers of sitar, guitar, organ, tablas and flute on 'Silence Can Say So Much' presenting Rishi's heart for truth love yearning cries. The final motorik synth-pop, 'Au Gallis' revs up guitar, synth and drums in a psyched-up robotic voiced excursion.

Too many changes of style on Ship Of Fools leaves you wondering if the band have been blown off their course of convention. Let's hope it does not leave a sauerkraut taste in their mouths, and prompts the band to return their faithful to familiar psych havens soon.

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