Friday, October 7, 2011

Album Review: Invisible Elephant - Anomie Or Swimming In A Black Sea

Anonymity is an interesting path for a rookie musician to go down. If executed correctly, it can kick up just as much of a fuss as an extensive promotional campaign, but equally it's a stance which preserves the privacy of the creatives in question, allowing them to work at their own pace without the pressure from fans and media which all too often inhibits artists still measuring their first steps. The latter it seems would particularly appeal to unnamed brit Invisible Elephant, who judging by this debut LP is reaping the benefits of remaining, well... invisible.

Invisible Elephant first announced himself to us with last year's EP The Lights Go Out, which dealt with distorted shoegaze/post-rock epics and promised much of this forthcoming full-length. Now that it's arrived, however, there are a handful of amendments to his core sound which results in a noticeably different style. Perhaps most obvious is the absence of the fuzz-drenched climaxes which up until this point have been the overriding feature of his music. Instead, subtlety is the name of the game here, with a more considered style which leans closer to the blissful ambiance of dreampop than the exhausted basic post rock template. Whether it's the swooning synth lines which characterise 'Black Sound?' or the screeching feedback of 'Room 208', everything here is executed with a degree of care which makes for a wonderfully accomplished musical backdrop from start to finish.

That notion of subtlety also applies to Invisible Elephant's vocal, an understated whisper somewhat reminiscent of Mark Linkhouse which by and large does it's job in conveying the emotion embroiled within the album. On the other hand, the fact that they're so quiet also has the undesired effect of masking most of his lyrics, which while nothing astounding have an escapist charm to them which deserves to at least be heard rather than indistinctly mumbled. It comes as no surprise, then, that the two songs in collaboration with Spanish singer Ryli - 'Everything' and 'Wish' - prove the undoubted highlights of the record. As well as being altogether clearer and adding variation to proceedings, her voice also excretes a delicate warmth which lifts her contributions from mere pleasantries to moments of true beauty.

Even more impressive, though, is that these songs - highlights as they are - are never allowed to overshadow the rest of the record where Invisible Elephant goes solo. Indeed Anomie Or Swimming In A Black Sea is an accomplishment which he deserves immense credit for, and despite it's clear flaws is a record which proves both immediate while maintaining plenty of lasting value. It also represents a confident step forward from the previous EP, and raises exciting future prospects given that it's maker is clearly a talented artist who - given his creative conditions - should only improve further.

You can stream and buy Anomie Or Swimming In A Black Sea on Invisible Elephant's Bandcamp page.



1. Commercial Appeal
2. Everything
3. Where Is Home From Here
4. Wish
5. When It's Over
6. Room 208
7. Do You Believe?
8. Black Sound
9. Back In The Box

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