Written by: Vattghern
I’m a critic at heart. Chance is, if you spend just a little bit of time with me, you’ll roll your eyes at me constantly being nitpicky about everything that decides to fall into my hands, so to speak. Naturally my nitpickiness is ever so present when new music awaits judgement, which results in few things really blowing my socks off. Yet one song that sparked my interest when browsing Bandcamp pretty early in 2020--when toilet paper was still available en masse and doing one’s groceries didn’t feel like Russian roulette--did just that: blow my socks off. “Sails” by Elephant Tree was neither from a genre I was fond off nor was it from a band I previously knew. Despite that, I fell in love, excessively hitting the play button.
So, when the promo sheet was updated and I spotted Elephant Tree’s new studio album Habits, my eyes lit up and I instantly messaged the Village Overlord, begging for a promo copy. As you’ve already guessed, my request was heard and here I am, reviewing Habits, the new album by stoner rock aficionados Elephant Tree.
The first thing that crossed my mind while listening to Habits was how perfect and crisp their tone is. Not from an esoteric, but rather from a technical standpoint. Maybe this impression is due to my lacking experience in all things stoner and doom, but putting on a good pair of headphones (which coincidentally arrived at my doorstep during this review process) and pressing play feels like diving head first into a pool of pink cotton balls. Blissful, ethereal, yet with enough oomph when required, the wall of sound of Habits is nothing short of amazing.
Elephant Tree are fully aware of this strength, highlighting it with atmospheric songwriting and a barrage of dreamy chords. And while “Faceless” with its juicy mid-section breakdown is not a big departure from the sound introduced in “Sails”, the following tracks “Exit The Soul” and “The Fall Chorus” showcase the bands bluesy side in two different, yet equally successful ways. Virtually any influence that reveals itself on Elephant Tree’s newest album is used to its full potential. Drawn out chords in post-metal fashion (“Bird”) and shoegazy leads (“Wasted”) only further the unique soundscape the band is displaying.
What ultimately keeps the wheels turning on Habits is the thoughtful juxtaposition of peaceful and roaring sections. Another forte of the band are the catchy, dreamy melodies that are expressed through beautifully layered vocals. Thus, throughout its roughly 40 minutes of runtime that feel appropriate but could’ve been trimmed at some occasions, Habits never loses its impact.
In short, Elephant Tree can be proud of themselves, because I probably won’t stop listening to Habits anytime soon. My only initial gripes with it, namely the samey sound of some riffs and the ignored potential of the synths, are swept away as soon as I remind myself of all the excellence Habits has to offer. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to “Sails” for the hundredth time today!
Elephant Tree - Habits will be released April 24th from Holy Roar Records / Deathwish Inc
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!