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Shaman Elephant: Crystals

Turn on, tune in...jump on the next plane to Norway and check out what's going down. Hot on the heels of Tiebreaker getting their nose in front of the progressive opposition, here come Shaman Elephant triumphant with their full length debut, Crystals. With Karisma records rather taken by the band's introductory EP, More, the label decided to see if the band could live up to that short release's title and deliver, well, more. Clever, clever Karisma – Crystals is cracking!

The album's title-cut introduces proceedings, a slow building groove suddenly smashing down in front of you as bassist Ole-Andreas Jensen thrives through his thrumming thumbs. Drummer Jard Hole, however, sees this as a challenge… can he keep up? No is the simple answer, he can go one better, his pounding beat and percussive pummels the powerhouse on which we ride this Shaman Elephant to success. Guitarist Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen plays it canny, knowing exactly when to join in on the melodically inclined fret fury and when to veer off in his own direction. The man also sings, his easy but never queasy style surprising through the urgency it provides – a theme across the whole album, and one confirmed by the man behind the electric piano and organ, Jonas Særsten who can often be found driving gargantuan grinds of delight, but when he's not, you can revel in his deft touch and eye for detail.

From there "Shaman In The Woods" reveals a beautiful lyrical touch, the twin vocals from Vognstølen and Særsten almost lullaby in quality, as they swoop over another deep groove but this time one delivered with a beautiful restraint. Having already revealed two sides to their character, Shaman Elephant ain't afraid to show more, "I.A.B" a crazed snap of full velocity wonderment, "Tusko" almost as shimmering and fragile as The Cinematic Orchestra, although Shaman Elephant do so with a more song bases vision. There's no denying its enigmatic beauty.

"The Jazz" however fails to live up to its name. Instead this behemothic beast lumbers and thunders as though the offspring of some Sabbathy experiment. Yes, there's been a stoner element throughout, but elsewhere the drama and attitude displayed here is given a playful psychedelic bent. That Crystals can provide both and do so with such conviction, is what makes you really take this lot seriously, and closing track "Stoned Conceptions" seals the deal. Here the many elements that have already been so expertly illustrated are brought together and moulded into a twelve minute track that works its way through a masterful evolution. From languid and lazy to floaty and light, before crushing all in its path through an incisive guitar, organ, rhythm dance that's as light of touch as it is fist of stone.

Look out, the Norwegians are coming! With albums as good as Crystals and bands as good as Shaman Elephant, open the doors and welcome the invasion, your full surrender is assured.

Track Listing
1 .Crystals
2. Shaman In The Woods
3. I.A.B
4. Tusco
5. The Jazz
6. Stoned Conceptions

Added: March 18th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Shaman Elephant at Bandcamp
Hits: 1312
Language: english

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