‘These Changing Skies’ from Elephant Revival - evocative, reflective, melodious(December 12, 2013)
In the event that you haven’t come across Elephant Revival, a five-piece alt-folk band from Colorado, USA, I suggest that you pick up a copy of their latest album ‘These Changing Skies’. Alternatively, catch them on their short 2014 UK tour and find out what you’ve been missing – better yet do both.Within the weave of their music you’ll find folk influences, Celtic, Eastern, Country and Gypsy essentials, touches of bluegrass and jazz, plus a plethora of traditional elements - and were that insufficient there’s more than a touch of their own brand of folk inventiveness.
Elephant Revival are Sage Cook (banjo, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, fiddle, vocals) Bridget Law (fiddle, octave fiddle, vocals) Bonnie Paine (washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox, vocals) Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo, bass, vocals) and Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo, vocals).
The overall impression is of finely architectured tunes, built with considerable passion and executed with consummate care. Melody is primal to these tunes. The texture of each building in successive layers. From the sultry opener ‘Birds and Stars’ through the restless questing of ‘Remembering a Beginning’ and the barely-bridled vitality of ‘The Rakers’ with its elusive fiddle-driven force, to ‘Satisfied’ with its vocals sliding wistfully across the musical saw – this is spiritual music. While for me the effervescence of the sparkling ‘The Pasture’ was nothing short of pure pleasure.
For the interested, the band name comes from a news item recording the almost simultaneous passing of two elephants, who having lived together in captivity for 15 years, once separated, expired within days. The idea seeded with the band that there exits unseen spiritual connections that too many of us ignore.
Reviewer: Tom Franks