DPRP - Execute and Breathe
Execute And Breathe is the second release from Elephants of Scotland and they too might end up as a famous ice cream flavour, with elephant shaped pieces of chocolate in a tartan themed base of gooey frozen lactose based product. Yes, that is an odd way to start a review, but when you consider that fellow "Burlington from Vermont" band Phish and Burlington's sub arctic milk purveyors Ben and Jerry have teamed up to make the yummy "Phish Food", then anything is possible for this beat combo... who also hail from the same town.
After the excitment of first album Home Away From Home they were invited to play at RoSfest in Gettysburg after only a few gigs. So with a new studio and added impeutus they have produced a new set of eight new pieces and it is a very fine collection of old school sounding "proper" prog rock with lashings of keyboards courtesy of founder Adam Rabin, and great playing from all, especially the drumming of Ornan McLean. There's nothing symphonic about it, but it does have many hallmarks which will appeal to 80's Rush fans and (for me) the heavier side of Marillion.
A Different Machine begins the show with a great bass guitar intro and lovely swirling keys sounding like Between You and Me from Anoraknophobia which is probably where I got the Marillion connection. Three of the members sing and have similar voices, and I do like that happening, as the lead singer syndrome can make some music a little "samey". This is very much in the "band pulling together" to tell a story approach. I am also noticing a sort of British accent, epsecially when bass player Dan MacDonald takes his turn with a hybrid Steve Hogarth and onEndless, Pt. 2 (along with Pt. 1, the centre piece of the album) a little Nick Barret-ish. This alone brings a kind of more proggy XTC vibe to it all. Guitarist John whyte inbues the album with kitchen sink sounds and on Ambersome great strummy acoustic. Each song has it's own stamp, but is clearly from the collective, even the initial pub rock of TFAY codas away with a great keyboard solo. Closing with Mousetrap the listener is treated to the intrumental prowress of this most talented of bands and as the Floydian sounding keyboard gentle fades away, I am left with a big grin on my face. After being faced with a little too much "prog metal" lately, this has entered my ears like an old friend albeit one that's showing off his brand new shirt. Elephants of Scotland have a great future and can't wait to see where the evolutionary process takes them.