Ladies and gentlemen, here we have the debut album from the London-based band; Elephant Tree. Believe me, when I say this, this monolithic slab of wax is as heavy as it sounds. You may remember this band’s debut release Theia back in 2014 in the form of an EP. It had a few interesting elements including sitars, but anyone expecting more of the same from this Self-Titled album will be slightly disappointed as the band have taken their thing in a new direction and created a seriously heavy, atmospheric, yet melancholy record that will not only satisfy most fans of the psychedelic doom genre, but will also leave your head swimming with the infectious rhythms and you’ll be wanting more!
The album kicks off with Spore… a psychedelic wave that sets the tone and gradually builds up to a single snare tap that commences Wither. Fans of Kyuss style stoner rock rejoice as this track shows us what this band is all about. The reverb drenched vocals are a fantastic cherry on top of the heavy fuzz that is rumbling underneath. The bass-led breakdown transports us back in time for the guitar solo to do its thing before kicking back into a heavy finish. I’d imagine this song would be a belter live.
Elephant Tree continues their fuzzy groove pilgrimage with Dawn. Strong and engaging vocals, lead the way as they pay homage to the classic bands of yesteryear. One’s head can’t help but nod along and smile… However, in an interesting turn of events, the next track Circles is an acoustic number that throws us back to the 70’s. The vocals really show their excellence here as they soar with their infectious melody. Intriguing lyrics capture the imagination and suck you into their world. Light the candles and incense and get into the colorful realm; because this song makes you want to sing along and join the band on its journey. Aphotic Blues finishes off side A with some seriously heavy chord beating. The outro is extremely crushing with nods to Ty Segall’s Fuzz and even has a dab of Royal Blood in there.
After the dust has settled on the other side’s cranium-rattling finish, we enter territory with Echoes. The trippy sun-soaked blues help us continue on the astral expedition. The unbelievably catchy chorus makes you think you are listening to seasoned veterans here. I do constantly have to remind myself that is a debut album and by this stage, I am seriously in love with this record.
Fracture sustains the dark psychedelic undertones that this weighty record carries. Layne Staley spirited vocals bring us into a little bit of a grunge region and there is nothing wrong with that in my book. The guitarist shows his love for the heavy blues and he clearly has a background in it with the solo featured here. Surma is the overdriven finale and it keeps the band’s groove train rolling on through to a strong finish. Blistering vocals take the LP on a new high, as they rip a hole in the galactic cosmos with tones and melody so heavy that they create a downward spiral through the aphotic emotions… The piano outro is a melancholy curtain puller on this fantastic record.
Whatever the future holds for Elephant Tree, they can certainly be proud of themselves with this record. Running at just under forty minutes in length, it is the perfect amount of time for digesting all the fuzzy groove, stellar vocal melodies, blues-infused guitar work, breakdowns and crushingly heavy power chording that will surely satisfy the most uptight of doom fans. Magnetic Eye’s April 22nd release date cannot come quick enough.
Time is a ghost… Ripping the atmosphere!
Scribed by: Seán O’Connor