Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Invisible Elephant

The Lights Go Out (Sonic Reverie, 06.10)

For: Windsor for the Derby, Warpaint, Jesu, Mogwai

Byline: Incredibly dreamy, atmospheric post-rock from Blackpool, UK with dark suggestions of noise-influenced undertones. Name possibly taken from an X-Files episode. What is there not to love?

Invisible Elephant are at their best when their elegiac, free-floating post-rock, replete with swirling guitar tones, reverbed-out everything, and heavy, druggy guitar drones, are in the jaws of a malevolent undertone of unrestrained noise brooding just below the surface. It is not that those gorgeous ambient passages would float by unnoticed without the threat of being engulfed by a tidal wave of squalor; reeling feedback, and no-input tonal freak outs, but the fear that they could totally collapse suture those your eardrums, wringing out every last moment of beauty. Fortunately Invisible Elephant only dangles that sword over its lovely post-rock/shoegaze tracks with no intention of letting it drop. When Invisible Elephant get noisy, and they do, it comes in measured waves of unadulterated awesomeness. Opener "Communication (part II)" contains an arching, feedback-drenched, guitar line that is all glistening teeth, flashes of muscle and steel under the moonlight, that only hints at the tensile power that could of been released if you, lonely traveler, hadn't brought a gun loaded with silver bullets.

The slow jams, there are plenty of them as well, run the gamut from ethereal, early Galaxie 500 long-players, an oddly placed tribal drumming, chanting, dubstep-incidental percussion laced segue, and an auto-tuned acoustic track. For the most part these are totally unexpected and beautiful departures. The aforementioned auto-tuned "Lost in the Woods" is full of shimmering, cascading James Blackshaw-like atonal strumming and auto-tuned vocals that showcase the beating human heart in the cold, processed machine of robotic vocal work. The last heavy track of the album, starting with a wash of processed guitar noise gives way to the hushed vocals before an aching, feedback impregnated guitar line punches a hole wide open in the composition. A sound and a move clearly directed by the heavy hand of bands like Ride and Swervedriver who inform the aural textures and tones of Invisible Elephant. A highly recommended, extremely rewarding listen.

Ryan H.

Invisible Elephant bandcamp page. Download or buy here.

I have seen every episode of the X-Files. All nine seasons. I am not particularly proud of this, nor am I totally stoked that I know this trivia. But the band name Invisible Elephant seems to make reference to an X-Files episode in Season 2 where animals are turned invisible as part of some alien abduction plot that is never really explicitly stated. The teaser to the episode begins with an invisible elephant smashing through an electrical worker's truck. Am I right to assume this? Insight please.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - nice write up! This album has been a favourite of mine for 2010. Just about the name... I suspect Invisible Elephant is more likely to be a Haruki Murakami reference (The Elephant Vanishes), as the album itself has taken some inspiration from themes common in the work of authors like Murakami and John Irving.