Start­ing with a base point of indie-psych, Cana­di­an out­fit Ele­phant Stone’s sound radi­ates out, mor­ph­ing along the way into oth­er gen­res. Rishi Dhir, the band’s front man, sitar and bass play­er plus pro­lif­ic song­writer, remains stead­fast­ly at the helm, con­tin­u­ing to steer their sound in mul­ti­ple direc­tions – not least of all the con­cept album, as demon­strat­ed on the superb Hol­low in 2020 which we reviewed.

The band’s lat­est album Back Into The Dream, their sixth stu­dio work, sees Rishi plus band mem­bers Miles Dupire (drums), Rob­bie MacArthur (gui­tar), and Jason Kent (keys/guitar) take us on jour­ney to a lim­i­nal space, invit­ing us to float along with them on a wash of sound and emo­tion. The album is indica­tive of their pow­er to sur­prise and shift their sound, keep­ing things fresh, and always with that abil­i­ty to ref­er­ence psy­che­delia of the past with­out slav­ish­ly fol­low­ing it, bring­ing their own unique take. 

The open­ing track Lost In a Dream mix­es clas­sic Ele­phant Stone psych ele­ments with some­thing new, a jazz-influ­ence that infus­es the first half of the track. And sec­ond track The Spark may ask that ques­tion, “Where is the Spark?… now you’re putting pen to paper with a half emp­ty glass” about, pre­sum­ably the dif­fi­cul­ties of writ­ing a song, how­ev­er it takes an upbeat, pop­pi­er tone with a rich and lay­ered palette and a wist­ful cho­rus, while the fol­low­ing num­ber, the shim­mer­ing Going Under­ground, fea­tures key­board notes that are pleas­ing reminders of the Small Faces while the bridge just rocks out.

At the mid­point, Rishi brings in a mys­ti­cal instru­men­tal track God­star. The open­ing notes almost fool you into believ­ing this is going to be some­thing in Fair­port Con­ven­tion folk style before the drone of the sitar almost imper­cep­ti­bly makes its mys­ti­cal and thrilling pres­ence. I’m remind­ed of see­ing Ele­phant Stone live – there’s a pal­pa­ble air of excite­ment in the room when Rishi picks up his sitar and we know we’re going to be utter­ly trans­port­ed by the beau­ty of the instru­ment and the emo­tion­al pow­er of his com­po­si­tions. And so it is with God­star, the sitar tak­ing us deep­er into our dream. It’s a stir­ring composition.

The highlight of the album is the ambitious and adventurous The Imajinary, Nameless Everybody in the World, with echoes of the crisp harmonies of C,S,N&Y before the song breaks out into a rippling guitar riff that brings Yes to mind. From there the track makes a dramatic shift before wrapping the track up with a noodly, floaty, saxophone finale. It's a thoroughly majestic track and will hopefully make it onto their setlist on the upcoming European-wide spring tour.

Back Into The Dream is, as always with Elephant Stone, a beautiful journey, an invitation to leave the world behind, while transporting you to an otherwordly space.

Back Into The Dream Elephant Stone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *