I always seem to be playing catch up with Elephant Stone. I missed their live gig at The Leeds Cockpit, in support of Black Angels because of a queue on the motorway, and I didn’t really get into their eponymously titled 2013 album until this year. Now that I have I think it’s one of my favourites of recent times. So I was very keen to catch them on their recent brief European Tour.

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All this has meant that I had laid quite a burden of expectation on the band to replicate their amazing sound in a live context. And did they? Well no they didn’t, but bear with me. The reason I like their most recent album is because it is so mellifluous, full of wonderful tunes that bury their way into my head. The sort of songs that when you wake up singing them you just know it is going to be a good day. That is not to say that they are hopelessly optimistic, just great songs to listen to. In the way that The Byrds are great to listen too.

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So I guess that I was expecting a little bit of a psych lounge vibe, but Elephant Stone area different live proposition altogether. They are much more aggressive, more direct, more…well…rock ‘n’ roll. I also not only feel that I’ve finally caught up with the band, but am a little bit ahead too because, as well as tracks from the first three albums we also got to hear some new material from the forthcoming album, due out in August.

Opening with ‘I Am Blind’ from the debut lp, The Seven Seas, they immediately launched into a  good mix of old, recent and new material; with particular highlights for me being their amazing first track, ‘Setting Sun’, from last year’s album, which has become one of my most played this year; along with other songs from that album ‘Heavy Moon’ and ‘My Silent Moment’.

The centrepiece, however, was ‘Don’t You Know’ which led into a beautiful and meditative sitar solo by band leader Rishi Dhir who showed his virtuosity on this lovely instrument, and really provided the crowd with a very different experience from most gigs.

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The new material, sounded very promising, including the title track ‘Three Poisons’ , which is now available to stream from the band’s website. If this track is indicative of the album as a whole then it does not appear to be a massive departure for the band, but with such a melodious extant sound I would hope that they wouldn’t stay too far from their winning formula.

All in all this was a really enjoyable set which enabled the crowd to see a different side of the Montreal outfit, it was pleasing to see that they don’t just trot out the songs but give them a new life in a live setting.

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WORDS = Simon Delic

PICTURES = stAn

You can find more Psych Insights by Simon Delic here.