Elephant Stone - Hollow (Fuzz Club)

Elephant Stone – Hollow (Fuzz Club)

Montreal psych-pop group Elephant Stone frontman Rishi Dhir has mixed in exalted circles. He’s toured with the likes of Beck and Brian Jonestown Massacre, but it is evident he’s most at home when he’s leading the creative charge.

Hollow is Elephant Stone’s sixth long player since 2009’s debut The Seven Seas, and the follow up to 2016’s Ship Of Fools.

Rishi, along with long-time collaborators Miles Dupire (drums) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar) and touring member Jason Kent (keys/guitar), has a confident sound that echoes previous records but sets Elephant Stone in a direction that pushes the band forwards onto new musical terrain.

It is less in your face than its predecessor, and invites you to dig deeper and far beyond the main melodies. This can be attributed to it being the first Elephant Stone LP recorded in Rishi’s own studio, leading to greater freedom in the songwriting process.

The vocal production is inventive, the middle eight of ‘The Court and the Jury’ being a case in point – it all gets very George Harrison, and that is a very good thing. This, combined with Rishi’s vocal tonality and pronunciation, unexpectedly evokes Ian Broudie.

‘Land of Dead’ is an altogether heavier offering and hints towards Elephant Stone’s back catalogue, without straying into psychedelic indie by numbers territory.

Usually in the middle of an album, there’s a dud or two tucked away to bulk the time out before you’re re-introduced to the good stuff. Not so here.

‘We Cry for Harmonia’, swiftly followed by sibling track ‘Harmonia’, and ‘I See You In Hollow’, are stand outs; consider dropping them on your 2020 playlists immediately.

Songs pull you in different directions without warning. The introductory riff on ‘Clampdown’ is a great example – it teases one direction, before you’re guided down an altogether more thoughtful path.

Hollow is guitar drenched; each time one figures, it is rich in tone and full of character, no sound is the same. Rishi’s carefully created sitar arpeggios cruise through, ethereal and other-worldly.

For a collection of songs that lean so heavily into psychedelia, it encourages you to work a little to uncover the layers of each, but is far from impenetrable.

Hollow a wonderful record that is thought provoking, creatively inspiring and beautifully produced.

There is a sun-setting gig at a festival vibe that resonates throughout. The use of scaled arpeggios gives many of the tracks a cyclical feel; the result is overwhelmingly positive. Each piece of music slips into the next, creating a seamless aural experience that could go on indefinitely.

Hollow is available from Friday 14th of February on Fuzz Club.

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