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Elephant Revival

Break in the Clouds

(Ruff Shod; US: 22 Nov 2010; UK: 22 Nov 2010)

Hailing from Colarado, Elephant Revival is a collective of folk-inspired musicians led by Bridget Law’s vocals and fiddle, joined by a quartet of other musicians, including Dango Rose on bass and Daniel Rodriguez on guitars. Everybody sings, and everybody plays multiple instruments. All this activity amounts to a wide variety of lush, mostly-acoustic sounds, which veer from the country-bluegrass end of the spectrum (“Lexington”, “Break in the Clouds”) to moodier, bass-heavy tunes (“Cosmic Pulse”, “Drop”). If indie rock were played primarily on mandolin, cello, banjo, and octave violin, it might sound something like this.


That’s not to say that the songs are experimental or bizarre—guitar and vocals remain the focus of these songs, it’s just that the arrangements and instrumentation lend something refreshing to many of them. The fiddle on “Barefoot Friend” brings an alt-country vibe, while “Break in the Clouds” is reminiscent of a waltz. Most of all, what makes this record so successful—and it is very successful indeed—are the songs, which are solidly constructed and performed with conviction. At 14 tracks, the album loses momentum in its second half, but remains generally engaging nevertheless, and well worth a listen to anyone with a fondness for the “folk” element of “folk-rock”.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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