Evolution, change, artistic growth, exploration - these words are associated with all great rock and roll bands, but they're quickly becoming synonymous with Elephant Stone, the Montreal trio led by singer/bassist/songwriter/sitar player Rishi Dhir. With Ship of Fools (their fourth full-length LP), Dhir and his bandmates - Miles Dupire (drummer/backing vocals) and Gabriel Lambert (guitar/backing vocals) - have solidified Elephant Stone's place among the greats as innovators who are unafraid of challenging themselves and their audience.
As album opener, "Manipulator," attests, Ship of Fools presents a new Elephant Stone emphasizing catchy grooves and vocal melodies that smack of both infectious pop and dance. But Dhir's lyrics have lost none of their sophistication: his social commentary makes "Manipulator"music for the head and heart. The rest of Ship of Fools follows suit. The creation of its eleven tracks, as Dhir says, allowed him to embrace his true identity as "pop songwriter" whose tunes are custom built for the dance floor.
Elephant Stone's refined vision on Ship of Fools is the realization of the gifts of a great band. Add the talents of producer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National) to the works, and the result is an album chock full of stylistically diverse cuts that could all stand on their own as hit singles. Indeed, "The Devil's Shelter (ft. Alex Maas)," "Where I'm Going," and "Andromeda" have already been released as singles to critical acclaim. They explore the deep reaches of space rock ("Andromeda"), aggressive dance music ("The Devil's Shelter"), and sophisticated pop songcraft ("Where I'm Going").
Ship of Fools is a necessary addition to your record collection. It's a rare contemporary LP that captures the authenticity, earnestness, and talent of a band at the top of its game.