Elephant Stone – The Three Poison

I must admit that I’m biased toward this band and this album.  Elephant Stone is one of my wife’s favorite bands and we were lucky enough to see them perform this album live at the 2014 Austin Psych Fest pre-party show.  I’ve been looking forward to the release of The Three Poisons ever since.

“Motherless Child (Love’s Not for War)” gets the record off to a great start with it’s snappy drums by Miles Dupire-Gagnon, echoing and soaring guitar work by Gabriel Lambert, and fine sitar licks by band leader Rishi Dhir.  The song is a fine slice of psychedelia that’s over far too soon for my liking.

No worries, however, as “Knock You From Yr Mountain,” a great song about the effects of karma, follows it.  Dhir’s bass work on this track is outstanding.  It’s one of the peppiest songs on the record and will thrill audiences at their gigs.  “All Is Burning” has the band rocking out with excellent added vocals by Malika Tirolien.

“Worlds Don’t Begin and End with You” is a lesson we should all remember.  It’s also a lovely song about a rocky relationship.  Lambert’s solos on it are suitable for stadium rock but are held in check by Dhir’s “nice walk in the park” bass line.  “Wayward Son” is about a man looking for someone to guide him through life, be it the Creator or even the love of (t)his life.  It’s a perfect summer soundtrack song with its bouncy guitar, cracking drums, and uplifting vocals.

Dupire-Gagnon puts down a wicked beat that every hip-hop producer will want to gank on “Child of Nature (Om Namah Shivaya).”  Lambert, seeming to sense Dupire-Gagnon had thrown down a gauntlet, gets menacing with his guitar work and Dhir decides to hypnotize both of them (and the rest of us) with splendid sitar.  Like “Motherless Child,” it’s over far too soon.  “Living for Something” is straight-up psychedelic mellow yellow rock that is best suited for lounging on a hillside and watching clouds morph into various shapes.

The title track refers to the three poisons of Buddhism that are responsible for suffering: Ignorance, attachment, and aversion.  The song has singing bowls throughout it, but they come through clear in the end to remind us to rid ourselves of these poisons.  Trust me (and Elephant Stone), you don’t want to be bogged down in suffering when the next track, “Echo & the Machine,” starts up.  It has more lovely psychedelic touches and precision beats.  I can’t help but wonder if the title is a salute to Echo and the Bunnymen.

The closer, “Between the Lines,” is a heavenly piece of work with excellent synthesizer work by Dhir and Lambert, not to mention fine twelve-string guitar by guest Robbie MacArthur.  It’s an excellent track for brisk walks or a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

You’ll gladly suffer one of the three poisons, attachment, once you hear this record.  You’ll want it.  I know we can’t stop listening to it.

– Nik Havert

Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net.

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