There are more than a few things about Elephant Stone that are unexpected. First, the band is an American sounding psychedelic rock band with heavy pop leanings. When I first listened to them I was instantly transported to the beaches of California with sun-drenched waves crashing on every beat. I then realized that the band is actually from Montreal. While this part of Canada is lovely I am sure, sunny beaches fail to be in the top hundred things one thinks of when discussing. They play as a band that transcends national borders on their third full-length album “Three Poisons” which is a throwback to both the late ‘90’s as well as the 1960’s experimental rock scene.
A second unexpected surprise can be summed into one fantastic instrument: sitar. While the sitar has a storied history in rock, it can easily turn into long drawn out solos and beyond trippy lyrics. Thankfully, the band stays away from the cliché and creates an artistic and fun album that listeners from all walks of life are sure to enjoy. Lead vocalist and multi instrumentalist Rishi Dhir, formed the band after touring internationally with acts like Beck and The Black Angels. “Knock You From Your Mountain” beautifully illustrates how the band is able to weave the sitar in with poppy lyrics and a danceable bass line. Honestly, trying not to dance to this song is like denying your innermost primal urges. “Child of Nature (OM NAMAH SHIVAYA)” has a similar vibe mingled with crunchy rock guitars and haunting vocals. These two tracks showcase the beauty of the band and their Hindie mix.
It was also unexpected at how much I liked this album. It reminded me of two of my favorite bands in college, Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. It makes sense then to learn that both of these bands have worked with Dhir (Dandy Warhol member Peter Holmströmb having remixed the pop infused “Knock You From Yr Mountain). While sounding familiar, the band is still able to create something uniquely theirs. Both experimental and disciplined, this album is a fun and introspective. The listener will even be reminded of influences as diverse as George Harrison Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. And that makes for one awesome musical experience!