We at Desert Psychlist spent quite a large chunk of 2022 listening to bands hailing from the Italian underground scene and we expect to be doing much the same again in 2023 as there seems to have been quite an explosion of creativity coming from that boot shaped country post Covid. The latest Italian band to assail our riff battered ears comes out of Milan and goes by the name of Elephant Groove, the band, Davide (guitar/vocals); Andrea (drums) and Jody (bass/keyboards), have just released their debut "Annihilation" and like their band name would suggest its grooves are HUGE!
Opening song "Sargassum" opens with lilting guitar arpeggios circulating over and around each other slowly swelling in volume and intensity until finally being joined by the drums and bass in a Colour Haze like groove decorated in a clean melodic vocal. Let us remember though that Elephant Groove are an Italian trio and as you may have come to realise, from reading Desert Psychlist's reviews of bands like Demonio and Witchsnake, Italian bands do tend to love a filthy guitar tone and its not long before the urge to stamp on a fuzz pedal becomes overpowering and the trio launch into heavy stoner rock mode, only relenting from this course in the songs dying seconds. If you thought things got filthy on the opening number then steady yourself for next track "Kingdom", its caustic bass riffs, thunderous drumming and nasty guitar tones are manna from heaven for anyone who likes their grooves to come with a government heath warning, it also boasts some peachy keyboard work as well as a pretty impressive vocal. "One More Ride" follows and is a song dynamically split between spacious lysergic noodling and fuzz drenched heavy psych riffing over which a remote and hazy vocal holds sway. "Walls" shows that no matter how psychedelic you might get or how much distortion you may ladle on a song the blues will always find a way to make an appearance, here they manifests themselves in Davide's swirling guitar solos which majestically soar and swoop despite Jody and Andrea's efforts to drown them in a sea of growling bass and pounding rhythms. For final song "Annihilation" the band initially go full steam ahead into heavy stoner territory, with the vocals taking on a similar air of gnarliness, but then the band give us a moment to catch our breaths by inserting into the song a languid and lysergic laced middle section before re-answering the call of their fuzz and distortion pedals and once again layering on the stoner nastiness, its quite a ride.
Not quite as caustic and filthy sounding as some of their Italian underground contemporaries and prone to taking off on tangents into more cosmic climes Elephant Groove are nonetheless a mouth-watering prospect for anyone who likes their music both languid and leathery.
Check 'em out ....
© 2023 Frazer Jones
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