Saturday, 21 July 2018


"The Blues" gets a little maligned outside of its own genre, many believing it is a style of music that has seen its best days and should retire to the Sunnyside Home for Old Music (that doesn't actually exist by the way). Wrong, wrong. WRONG, the blues has never been more alive, more vital and more exciting than it is today with bands like All Them Witches, Youngblood Supercult and Blues Pills, among many others, taking the form twisting it and turning it to suit their own purposes and then presenting it as something fresh and new.
Add to this list Black Elephant, Alessio Caravalli (guitar/vocals), Max Giacosa (guitar), Simone Brunzu (drums) and Marcello De Stefanis (bass), a quartet from Savona, Italy in whose hands the blues have found a safe and loving home and who have just released their latest collection of songs "Cosmic Blues" (Small Stone Records).

The blues, in a rock context, just doesn't seem to work without a fiery guitarist left of stage throwing shapes and scorching the air with fret burning solos,licks and riffs and Black Elephant are no exception, only this band have two of them! On songs like "Cosmic Soul", "Walking Dead" and "Baby Eroina" this pairing of almost opposing guitar tones pays huge dividends with Caravelli and Giacosa not so much trading off or syncing their tones as weaving them in and around each other. Of course this would not be possible without a red hot rhythm section creating the grooves for them to decorate and in Brunzu and De Stefanis Black Elephant have a rhythm section able to switch from subtle and complimentary to full on and driving in a heartbeat, the bassist and drummer the glue holding everything together. As well as holding down guitar duties Caravelli also handles the vocals on five of "Cosmic Blues" seven songs ( "Chase Me" and the excellent "Cosmic Blues for Solitary Moose" both being instrumentals), his gruff, clean voice booms with raw power above the gritty stonerized delta grooves beneath them and although are far from what one would call traditional nevertheless bring an air of bluesy authenticity to everything they touch.

Black Elephant's "Cosmic Blues" is a stunningly superb album, delivered by a band totally at the top of their game and is one that reinvigorates a genre that has had some bad press of late. And so it's time we retracted those obituaries and refilled the grave hole with earth because the blues 'aint dead, or smelling funny, its alive and well and on holiday in Italy.
Check it out …..

© 2018 Frazer Jones

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