17 Mar 2013
Elephant Stone S/T Review
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
I've been following Rishi Dhir with interest ever since the release of the High Dials fantastic debut "A New Devotion" (which you need to buy immediately, it's hard to find now, but still available through places like this). "A New Devotion" was partially responsible for convincing me that psychedelia recorded in the 2000s was able to foot it with the originals.
Since then Rishi has been first call sitar enchanter for the likes of the Horrors and the Black Angels, and started up his own "Hindie Rock" (his definition) group Elephant Stone who have one good, and now one great album behind them.
Debut "The Seven Seas" wasn't short on fine moments, but it's not without reason that Rishi Dhir has chosen to release this as a self titled album - it's the definitive Elephant Stone release (so far anyway!)
Elliott Smith fans will be amazed at the uncanny vocal likeness on many tracks - the vocal melody line on "Heavy Moon" in particular feels like it's been plucked from an alternate universe "Figure 8", although Rishi has a much more diverse range of influences - Sonic Youth style noise rock tangents, jangling guitars, and passages that marry Beatlesque rhythm sections with sitar and tabla in a way that can only be compared with Kula Shaker - a parallel that likely won't win me any friends, but shorn of Crispian Mills' cock rock attitude and occasional bouts of juvenilia (Great Dictator of the Free World, anyone?), this culture clash continues to pay dividends.
"The Sea of Your Mind" combines all these elements best - a faultless piece of indie tunesmithery with extended instrumental passages that build in intensity from sitar-heavy riffing to chiming Rickenbackers to an all out whammy bar assault, all filtered through a glorious paisley drone.
And for those more concerned with the tunes themselves, the likes of "Setting Sun", "A Silent Moment" and "Hold Onto Yr Soul" could be stripped down to their barest essentials and still retain their melodic charm.
I'm sure that in years to come Elephant Stone will be discussed in the same sort of hushed tones as Cotton Mather - let's give him some credit and start spreading the word now then shall we?