Thursday 6 June 2024


Was a time when you just could not check out a stoner, doom or heavy psych fans Bandcamp collection or Spotify playlist without there being at least six or seven Swedish bands/artistes featured, things have slowed down a bit since those days but seeing the word "Sweden" associated with a release in those genres still carries a lot of weight when checking out new albums and EP's. To be honest seeing an album entitled "Mary The Elephant" by a band of the same name while perusing a list of new releases did not really fill us here at Desert Psychlist with the same sense of excitement we might have had if the band had sported a more doomic or stoner like name, however hidden away in the corner of the bands Bandcamp page we saw the word "Sweden" so we thought let’s give it a shot. What we found when hitting play was an EP that not only upheld Sweden's reputation for churning out great bands but was also an EP that was so much more than just a collection of raucous rhythms and ripping riffs.

Things kick off in proto-doomic style with opener "My King" the songs main riff sporting an Iommi-esque quality, however any thoughts that you may have stumbled on another one of those bands worshipping at the altar of Black Sabbath are soon shattered when vocalist Hami Malek enters front and centre with a world wearied vocal that is as bluesy as it is soulful. For next song "The Haze" guitarist Isaac Ingelsbo, bassist Johan Fogelberg and drummer Doe step away from the Sabbathian flavoured sound of the opening song and instead combine on a groove that is fuzzy hybrid of classic and southern rock, a groove that is the perfect fit for Malek's gritty lived in vocal. So far Mary the Elephant have given us proto doomic bluster and classic/southern rock swagger but for third track "A Dying Sun" the band opt for hazy moodiness and languid ambient atmospherics, the song a beautiful laid back instrumental piece with an almost caressing quality. Its back to the rock for penultimate song "In the Dark" a mixture of stoner and classic rock decorated with another great vocal performance and shot through with an endearing bluesiness. Things come to a close with "The Crows Will Fall" the band returning to their Sabbathesque ways but this time taking their inspiration from Sabbath's psychedelic curveball "Planet Caravan", Inglebo's phase heavy guitar tones, Fogelberg's low fuzzy bass lines and Doe's laid-back rhythms creating a hazy framework for Malek to hang a suitably slurred vocal over, a truly tune in turn on and drop out moment.

Mary the Elephant's debut EP is not going to pin your ears back with waves upon waves of heaviness nor is it going to lull you into unconsciousness with its languidity, what it will do for you however is leave you with an ear to ear smile thankful in the knowledge that there are still bands out there making classic edged rock music of this calibre and quality. 
Check it out...
© 2024 Frazer Jones

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