INVISIBLE ELEPHANT – THE LIGHTS GO OUT (SONIC REVERIE, 2010)

Invisible Elephant are at their best when their elegiac, free-floating post-rock, replete with swirling guitar tones, reverbed-out everything, and heavy, druggy guitar drones, are in the jaws of a malevolent undertone of unrestrained noise brooding just below the surface. It is not that those gorgeous ambient passages would float by unnoticed without the threat of being engulfed by a tidal wave of squalor; reeling feedback, and no-input tonal freak outs, but the fear that they could totally collapse suture those your eardrums, wringing out every last moment of beauty. Fortunately Invisible Elephant only dangles that sword over its lovely post-rock/shoegaze tracks with no intention of letting it drop. When Invisible Elephant get noisy, and they do, it comes in measured waves of unadulterated awesomeness. Opener “Communication (part II)” contains an arching, feedback-drenched, guitar line that is all glistening teeth, flashes of muscle and steel under the moonlight, that only hints at the tensile power that could of been released if you, lonely traveler, hadn’t brought a gun loaded with silver bullets.

The slow jams, there are plenty of them as well, run the gamut from ethereal, early Galaxie 500 long-players, an oddly placed tribal drumming, chanting, dubstep-incidental percussion laced segue, and an auto-tuned acoustic track. For the most part these are totally unexpected and beautiful departures. The aforementioned auto-tuned “Lost in the Woods” is full of shimmering, cascading James Blackshaw-like atonal strumming and auto-tuned vocals that showcase the beating human heart in the cold, processed machine of robotic vocal work. The last heavy track of the album, starting with a wash of processed guitar noise gives way to the hushed vocals before an aching, feedback impregnated guitar line punches a hole wide open in the composition. A sound and a move clearly directed by the heavy hand of bands like Ride and Swervedriver who inform the aural textures and tones of Invisible Elephant. A highly recommended, extremely rewarding listen.

Ryan H.

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