Post Prog Sopho
Elephants of Scotland is a US prog band and this is their first release, although the guys have been around for quite some time. This is a release that has some elements of old art rock acts but with a modern prog sound.
They remind me of RUSH, especially on the guitar sound, but the extended use of keyboards is the decisive factor in order to consider this a neo prog record. The musicianship is so solid and every player knows what he is doing with great confidence. To me the key instruments here are the keyboards and the bass guitar. Also the vocals add more points to the result, with a scent of the English neo prog scene.
After an electronic intro, “Geograph” evolves into a prog showcase. It has lots of keys layers and interesting bass lines. I would like wider drums sound, although the guy knows exactly what he is doing. Actually the rhythm section is flawless. Then the track delivers a very nice wah-wah guitar solo from jazzy to melodic, brilliant! “Full Power” starts with a slow tempo and spacey keys. Piano and melodic vocal lines turn into something more ambient, a very interesting change of pace. “Starboard” has an extended proggy intro, somewhere between neo and symphonic. Vocals are going higher here on the chorus, with strong melodies. This track really flows great, probably my favorite. “The Seed” is another slower tempo neo track with melodies and keyboard layers. Then the title track, a keys intro twists into “reggae meets funk” guitar tune and a space atmosphere. This is their weirdest moment, I like it since it makes things more spicy. The album’s last track is an 11 minute prog theme, where the band proves again their excellent musicianship. It is a laid-back darker song with some keyboards space trips and an extended epic finale.
Well, just because all prog fans are eclectic about it, I think that the band should improve in some parts, f.i. I believe that the vocals stay a little behind, it needs something more on this part, maybe to be more complex but catchy. And I think that they should increase the track length, no doubt they prove that they can achieve this.
Nevertheless, this is an interesting album that really caught my attention and I think that every neo prog fan must check this band. I believe that they have the talent to take it further in the future. Great first release!