Review: The Elephant Parallax – “The Conscious”

I pity anyone who has to come up with colorful ways to pigeon-hole The Elephant Parallax.

The trio recently released online a single to the Loam & Sky EP, out May 11, and it is categorically, um, THEM. Much like songs like the epic “Incenfeminalgia,” off 2010’s Elephant Parallax, the new single, dubbed “The Conscious,” is a knot of interwoven time signatures, crazed synchronicity, and a lot of edginess. The band – guitarist/vocalist David Renteria, bassist/vocalist Stephen Charouhas, and drummer/vocalist Paul Charouhas – could be classified as a kind of alternative/post-metal outfit with prog-epic-mindedness, and the new track owes as much to The Mars Volta or At The Drive-In as it does Relapse-era Don Caballero.

The song opens with a simple click-clack drum track – shades of The Jesus Lizard’s “Bloody Mary” – before Renteria steals the show with pixelated, Battles-style guitar-work. From there, it’s a lot of fissures and shifting passages, most defined by the careful interplay of guitar, bass and drums and the even-keeled consistency of the band’s shared vocals. The vocals are actually, oddly enough, mile-markers. The environment can be moody and shape-shifting – yet thoroughly inviting and occasionally flirting with hooks. The vocals, then, are the often-unaffected center, something to grab hold of as the world whirs around you.

Pity Dave Clifford, the PR man at US/THEM Group who has to summarize this stuff. On his latest release, he calls out the band’s “frontiersman” characteristics. It’s a fitting notion – the band, unhinged, as adventurer. If this single’s any indication, Loam & Sky will break that mold, too. – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, March 20, 2018

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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