“DD Review: Elephant Stone – Back into the Dream.”

Score: 8/10

For probably close to a decade or so, this band Elephant Stone has been like a dream to me. They would consistently pipe in with these deep, textural, moody indie rock songs, in the vein of Broken Social Scene covering The Stone Roses (from whose song their name springs), and the music would almost always fail to be memorable, not from being uninspired, but just from the hazy, surreal and tranquil quality that kept my consciousness fractal and disjointed, during listens.

For some reason, 2024’s Back into the Dream, aptly named enough, seemed like kind of a key checkpoint in the band’s career. That is, this seemed like the album that, given some focus, tightness and wealth of ideas, would cement them as great, and likewise that would do considerable damage to their credibility, in the case of flatness or monotony.

And, indeed, lead singer Rishi Dhir seems like the sort of “nice guy” who you sort of take, as a listener, with some credence, and don’t naturally burden with a lot of obligation of meanness or confrontational lyrics, just for the sheer instinct that it’s probably not in his skill set. Truth be told, there are many points on this album where his serene, blissed-out vocal disposition threatens to dissolve into shtick. 

But the band, a sextet one of whom is just credited on Bandcamp with the instrument “tabla,” triumphs all over this thing. Just when the soft-guy indie rock approach seems like it’s about to get stale, they’ll usher in some proud, strident Moog synth riffing, or pipe organ ambience, or, my favorite, a delay-treated whammy bar on standout “BAE.” All of these eclectic elements seem perfectly mixed, too — nothing hogs the foreground in excessive zeal. “The Imajinary (sic), Nameless Everybody in the World” provides us the closest thing we’ve heard from this band to “prog,” the ghost of Pink Floyd seeming to watch over as Adam Kinner starts wailing on saxophone during the tempo-modified second half of this seven-plus-minute jammer. What’s impressive, too, is how the band switch seamlessly back into cafe-ready, Mr.-Cool “indie rock” on “Pilgrimage,” whose steady but cocksure groove seems like the perfect descent and landing following the stratospheric stylistic soaring prevalent on the previous track. Elephant Stone, on Back into the Dream, sound like a band that, short, perhaps, of having reached their pinnacle as a unit, are just having so much fun taking the wayward, scenic route to that pinnacle that it almost makes you want to just drag your heels and enjoy their charmingly scattered approach to songcraft. 


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