A Fucking Elephant - El Drugstore - Split EP

A Fucking Elephant – El Drugstore – Split EP


As more and more split releases seem to appear there cannot be many that are as progressively textured experimentally and as intriguingly sonically wanton as the split EP from A FUCKING ELEPHANT and EL DRUGSTORE. The release on 26th July on Nefarious Industries, a newly formed label imprint founded by members of both bands, is a maze of probing and meandering sounds, and intrusive chaotic rhythms and guitars. Both bands combining to bring an experience that is hard to ignore or forget.

The first half of the release consists of five tracks from Pennington, New Jersey band A FUCKING ELEPHANT. Each song seems hell bent on approval with mesmerising rhythms and immersing tones. This is not to say the songs are obvious, far from it, each track is a unique amalgam of sonic and melodic sounds served up with scuzzy guitars and incisive art rock mentality.

Three of the bands tracks which are instrumentals, ‘Blue Crab Fantastic’, ‘Just the Tip’, and ‘Holla! No Babies’, all strike firmly and forcibly. The first of the trio has a rolling rhythm behind an enterprising and fuzzed up guitar sound bringing the sense of venturing into a thrilling and mysterious unknown, whilst the second has a manic feel, its frantic and incessant attack virtually numbing the senses. The third of the tracks is more of the same but does seem to lack the spark of the others though it might just be it is much lengthier, as from a few minutes in it becomes pretty much a blur, a pleasant one but one that focus slips away from.

Football With Ukrainians’ and ‘Furious E.’ are the best of the A FUCKING ELEPHANT songs, the latter being the best of the whole release. To be fair musically all the songs from the duo of Greg Meisenberg and Matt Keys are on a relatively even par but the extra touch of vocals elevates these two tracks to a higher step. The added 80’s post punk feel on ‘Furious E.’ reminding one of bands like Artery and The Mekons, and the ‘Black and White’ era bass and vocal sound of The Stranglers on ‘Football With Ukrainians’ certainly adds something extra too. The flavours might be coincidence more than intention but they are pleasurable touches as the songs evolve.

The four EL DRUGSTORE songs completing the EP are in a closely similar vein but with a harder more metal hand rather than a progressive slant as with their EP partners. The Keyport, New Jersey based trio of guitarist Kevin Conway and drummer Seth Rheam both also of progressive metal unit East Of The Wall, and bassist Rolando Alvarado, contribute a quartet of instrumentals that though a little less technically involved than those from A FUCKING ELEPHANT easily match up with their stirring intensity and aggression. The dark throbbing pulse of ‘These Arm Rests Are Fire’, ‘Schnurrbart’ with its electrified furore of determined bass and expressive guitar, and the dirty grumbling sludge like ‘Shit-Eating Dog Kisses’ all hold up EL DRUGSTORE’s end of the package.

It is the their final track though that stands out for the threesome and shows another band that knows how to write songs that do more than just get heard. ‘Slamcart’ is a near nine minute epic that unwraps like a building journey, from a walk like beginning it grows into a non-stop driverless ride, ebbing and flowing as it builds to a climatic ending. Where the long track from A FUCKING ELEPHANT lost attention this track brings the listener eagerly further into it and feeling it the more it progresses.

This release is a must for anyone who enjoys the creative output from bands like Mars Volta, Iwrestledabearonce, and Between the Buried and Me. Neither A FUCKING ELEPHANT nor DRUGSTORE sound close to any of those but share the same creative intrigue and expressive style. This split EP does not break into new territories but it certainly brings a new bracing breeze into the year.

El Drugstore – Facebook Page
A Fucking Elephant – Facebook Page

 

Our Rating: 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10