Review Summary: It doesn't matter as long as it's psychedelic!
While growing up, most children end up watching the myriad of Disney "classics". In the animated film "Dumbo", our main character imbibes alcohol and subsequently trips balls. This is possibly one of the most psychedelic scenes ever to make its way into a film, let alone a film for children. The band essentially named themselves after that scene where "Dumbo Gets Mad". On their debut LP "Elephants At The Door", they manufacture a sound that resembles a very profound and colorful acid trip. Come, take the journey with me.
At the front door, we are greeted by rising electronic tension. This build up relieves itself into a long droning keyboard paired with a scattered bass line and jazzy, up-tempo percussion. The first track, though short, sets the tone for much of the album. On many of the tracks a heavily synthesized keyboard provides the melodic foundation. We see it on the single "Plumy Tale", coupled with a sexy bass line and simple chord progression on guitar. There is a momentary diversion from the standard melodic keyboard on tracks like "Sleeping Over" in which we see the use of horns driving the track. For the most part though, the tracks rely heavily on the keyboard to fuel their progression. The vocals are drenched in echo and reverb, creating a warm and tantalizing aura. The vocals would rather bath us in their ambiance than have us discern what they are saying. Overall the sounds on "Elephants At The Door" swirl around us, creating a very distant yet comfortable psychedelic landscape.
Some of the tracks really stand out, "Plumy Tale" being the most obvious. The bass is just marvelous, paving the way for the ever-present melodic keyboard. The chorus booms in with "la la la la la" echoing for what seems to be miles upon miles. An assortment of sounds are added to further compliment the psychedelic nature of the album. The track would fit nicely in front of thousands of mushroom munching hipsters partying in the woods. Another standout is the track "Why Try"". Very slow, spacey noises fly around our ears as the whispering vocals plant sweet nothings into our subconscious. Suddenly we transition into the much more fast and bubbly "Eclectic Prawn". Everything is poppy and fun about this track, from the the bouncy bass line to the playful lyrics "This is the story of eclectic prawn, he wears a little pretty crown". The track transforms into truly awesome event when the blistering keyboard solo blows us out of the water.
"Elephants At The Door" does an excellent job at crafting a purely psychedelic experience. There are two components that make this album especially great. Every track on this album features a bass line that urges your feet to get up and move. We also get very natural sounding drums, which is seriously lacking in many of today's psychedelic albums. The drums have this "ooomph" that you just don't get with the electronic counterpart. Despite all the awesome highs we experience on the album, there are some definite lows. The vocals fail to really make an impression; they just float by not really affecting the listener in any way. Also, because of the density of most tracks, this album is very difficult to absorb. It's not always an easy listen, though it is refreshing to play intermittently.
All in all "Elephants At The Door" is still a fantastic piece of acid tripped psychedelic-pop. The intertwined sounds come together to form a heavenly cloud of sexy bass lines, catchy keyboards, and dreamy vocals. This album carries you along for a journey into the world of Dumbo Gets Mad; a world where a split between ego and self occurs and all contact with reality is lost. This is an adventure that is well worth the reward.