Elephant Stone - Elephant Stone 2013
For modern rock fans the very name Elephant Stone connotes something specific: a beloved 1988 single from the Stone Roses. The new millennial, Canadian psych rock band Elephant Stone does indeed take elements from the Stone Roses, specifically how the Manchester group layered acoustic guitars and ringing Rickenbackers to create a psychedelic, '60s pastiche that never sounded tethered to the past, but on their eponymous 2013 sophomore set, there are several elements that give this modern-day trippy pop band their own identity. Foremost among them is a fondness for Indian music -- not a huge surprise considering how leader Rishi Dhir was an in-demand sitarist among the neo-psychedelic set prior to his formation of Elephant Stone (he played with Brian Jonestown Massacre and Soundtrack of Our Lives, among others) -- but it's hardly exotic window-dressing for standard-issue psychedelia. Classical Indian music is thoroughly interwoven with '60s psychedelia and pop -- and the two are different, with the first emphasizing texture and the second structure -- giving Elephant Stone a shimmering, off-kilter quality that's alluring. That sound is alluring enough to warrant return visits to the album, repeated listens that reveal the album to be built on solidly sculpted songs where the riffs and melodies intertwine into something quietly enchanting; like their inspirations, Elephant Stone evokes the best of the past, but is intent on recasting these sounds for the future.
Elephant Stone is a neo-psychedelic outfit led by Rishi Dhir, formerly of the High Dials. Its music incorporates the influence of British Invasion bands like the Kinks and the Beatles, as well as Indian classical music, which Dhir was paying particular attention to when he formed the band in Montreal in 2008. With Dhir singing lead and handling nearly a dozen instruments, help from several guests including producer Jace Lasek, and no shortage of breezy melodies, Elephant Stone released its debut album, The Seven Seas, in 2009 on Dhir's own Elephants on Parade label (with Fontana Distribution). The Glass Box EP followed in 2010 via Elephants on Parade and 360 Degree. The group signed with Canada's Hidden Pony for 2013's self-titled Elephant Stone. Settling into a regular lineup of Dhir, Gabriel Lambert on guitar, and Miles Dupire-Gagnon on drums, Three Poisons arrived in 2014, also on Hidden Pony. The trio released Elephant Stone's fourth LP, Ship of Fools, with Burger Records in 2016.
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