• John Van de Mergel

Sounds | Black Elephant, Yayoi Kusama


Ffffffffffffuzzzzzzzzzzzzz rrrrrrrrrock! Hell yeah, nog eens een moddervette pot psychedelische (stoner) rock zonder al teveel franjes, gewoon recht door zee, boenk derop! En dat dan nog uit Italië off all places! Hun album Seven Swords verscheen vorig jaar in augustus. Zeker de moeite om eens te luisteren ... en dan aanschaffen via je lokale platenboer of via bandcamp.


mbt de coole video “The video is dedicated to the biggest visionary artist of our time: Yayoi Kusama. Her art is like music for us. Anna Ivaldi did a great job with the video; you can feel our music travelling and diffusing through Yayoi’s eyes. We chose to honor Yayoi because of the song meaning: it is ideally addressed to everyone who still has the courage and perseverance to keep their ideas alive, without being conditioned by ‘third thoughts.’ I would say that Black Elephant are like Yayoi: we started with this trip and it is still alive.”


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The planets have aligned, and space itself has opened up to grace us with the heavy roll of Black Elephant's Seven Swords. The Italian fuzzmongers mark 10 years of cooperative corporeal existence in 2020 and last checked in from their native Savona in Summer 2018 with the aptly-titled Cosmic Blues, and two years and an entire lifetime later they're back with another collection of classic-minded heavy groovers, picking the best the '70s, '90s and '10s had to offer in riffery and melding spacey blowouts with desert-hued hooks.


Seven Swords is the second LP Black Elephant have issued in league with Detroit-based imprint Small Stone Records, and whether it's the scorching leads of "Yayoi Kusama" or the conscious wink-and-nod of "Red Sun and Blues Sun" a short time later -- just ahead of the bluesy "Seppuku" and the near-nine-minute stretch of closer "Govinda" -- the four-piece bring their finest work to-date in an efficient seven-track/33-minute stretch, building not only on what they accomplished on Cosmic Blues, but also what their prior two full-lengths, 2014ís Bifolchi Inside and 2012ís Spaghetti Cowboys, were building toward. This is a band coming into their own, wasting neither their time or yours in the process.


Fuzz pedals preach on, the sky cracks, and the riffs themselves seem to lock bellies in sumo battles, so what the hell? The world's ending anyway. You might as well have some fun with it.

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