Prog Archives - Home Away From Home

by Jason Spencer
January 21, 2014

This album has been steeping in my mind for the better part of a year now. I was in the mood for some great neo-prog, and I was certainly not disappointed when I purchased this debut album from Vermont's Elephants of Scotland. I was, to my shame, attracted by the interesting name and the great, spacey artwork (which, by the way, was voted best artwork of the year by the community on my Facebook page The PROG Mind). In other words, this album has a certain attraction to it from the start.

When I popped it into my player, I was floored by the musical proficiency I experienced. The band has a wonderfully soulful style full of awesome bass lines, catchy guitars, and rip-roaring drum work. They have a classic rock vibe buried in their style that keeps the music moving along without much pause for noodling or the like. When I come to neo-prog, though, I mainly come for the excellent keyboard work, and Elephants of Scotland do not disappoint in this area. They manage to fuse spacey atmospherics with organ leads and solos to great effect. The synthy goodness found in this album, then, had me smiling with glee, as I'm a sucker for synth.

The band has an interesting method of sharing the vocal leads, as three different members offer their performance here. The vocals, then, are always fresh, if somewhat inconsistent in quality. There isn't a "bad" voice in the bunch, however.

In addition to that, there isn't a "bad" song on the album either. I am a big fan of "Geograph" and the ending "epic" "Errol McSquisitor" with its folksy vibe. In fact, that was my favorite track for a long time, but now I'm rather taken with "Full Power" with its incredibly diverse and catchy keys. That is one thing I really noticed about this album: diversity. None of the songs sound the same, even though they may share components. I'm very impressed with this, as it takes strong composition skill to do this.

In the end, Elephants of Scotland are a band worth hearing. They combine classic sounds with new ideas to great effect, and I'm immensely impressed. They have a new album arriving in Spring 2014, so be sure to check it in addition to this album, too.