Elephant Sessions’ claim to fame is that they blend trad folk (they’re from the Highlands) with indie rock, which means they have an electric rhythm session, plus electronic dance beats, and mandolin and fiddle. Peak Elephant Sessions is possibly the bit in Colours where it all drops down to an electronic kick drum and ambient synth before the fiddle comes in.
The music is bright and breezy — we first listened last week while playing serious violin-based modern classical music — and it provided a quick brain wash, a rousing fiddle accompanied by a rock beat driving it along nicely.
The trouble is, when you listen to this and nothing else, you realise it’s basically easy listening folk. The musicianship is high and the tunes are pleasing but the “indie beat” means there’s nothing much interesting happening below the fiddle/mandolin. You get a nice melody out front to tickle the ears but behind that is just a straight drum/snare beat and the bass keeping time.
On the plus side, they must sparkle live, and if you catch a live show you probably remember every happy second while you play this. As far as the band bank balance goes, this is also ideal music for licensing: expect to hear snatches of this playing any time a television trailer or commercial product wants to evoke a claim to the Celtic. It sounds Scottish while being bland enough to play behind a commercial for shortbread in any language across Europe.
The live show can probably play anywhere in the world, too; Mongolian throat singing is attractive with a disco beat behind it never mind a perky fiddle, and indeed the band seems to tour the globe.
For fans of easy-on-the-ear fiddle, and bands like Shooglenifty.
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