The hocus pocus of Elefant

By By Jesse Peterson

By Jesse Peterson


The Black Magic Show

Hollywood Records/Kemado

Two-and-a-half out of five stars

The cover of The Black Magic Show, the current release from NYC band Elefant, depicts some girl in cowboy boots, precisely a quarter of her bum visible (A&E measured), heading toward a seedy motel.

What freaks me out is that not only does this make me think of Bjrk for some reason, but she’s also definitely headed toward the room with the broken light.


Which brings us to the music.

Elefant’s subdued rock is best experienced through its interplay of chord progressions and deep tonalities. The best executive decision is that each track is infused with some provocative sounds to keep the listener from going completely numb. It is these moments of the bells, mandolin (?), handclaps, breaths, trash can lids (??), wind, tambourine and bicycle ringers (you know what I’m talking about) that keep the record fresh and palatable. As the album progresses, The Black Magic Show gets better with prolonged listening exposure, but Elefant doesn’t put together anything compelling.

Sadly, there is no black and sinister magic cavorting throughout the record. The lyrics contain hokey rhymes. Elefant appears to be a sincere indie band trying to do something progressive-it’s just not working. I imagine this record would be good background music to a magician’s show, but only if he or she were a mime magician. Something no one takes too seriously.

The bottom line: Elefant has a few tricks up its sleeves (such as the 2003 New York Magazine award for the sexiest male lead singer in NYC), but if you can’t make the Statue of Liberty disappear, then I’m just not impressed.