Neo-psychedelia is a dangerous genre to tinker with nowadays, with the risk of sounding predictable or even banal always posed by decades of attempts to revamp a genre that was short-lived to begin with. Countless have strived to recapture the haze of the great psychedelic pioneers, but most bands reaching for the heights of Syd Barrett end up faring somewhere along the lines of The Lemon Pipers.
It’s because of this that Elephant Stone’s new album sounds all the more exciting. The sophomore release for this Montreal trio, The Three Poisons is a record marked by the self-admitted perfectionism of founder Rishi Dhir, combining fuzzed-out rock instrumentation with hazy, droning electronics and the sitar work of Mr. Dhir himself. Sticking true to their name, Elephant Stone deliver a record that is equal parts thumping and exotic, but with a keen sense of pop sensibility.
The biggest accomplishment for this record is its masterful escape in every aspect from sounding like a novelty item. Much like the sitar on the tracks “Motherless Child (Love’s Not For War)” and “Intermediate State,” everything on the album knows when to make its entrance and exit.
On tracks such as “Child Of Nature,” “Echo And The Machine” and “Knock You From Yr Mountain,” the band leaves traces of some of its influences, namely The Stone Roses, The Horrors, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, but their presence takes nothing away from originality. Perhaps only the title-track ends up falling prey to predictability, with back-tracked guitar solos and a beat nodding too much in the direction of the Beatles classic “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
It is a beautiful thing Elephant Stone have done, one that rekindles the spirit of psychedelic relics who had given up on the genre. It may be too early to be so bold, but soon there may once again be a reason to dust off the encyclopedic knowledge of psych rock from the closet.
In A Word: Enlightened