Nov 4, 2014

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Pop Matters


Elephant Wrecking Ball: Barren Serenade

By John Garratt 19 August 2014

PopMatters Associate Music Editor


I realize that I’m not here to review a band’s PR habits, but I still see words like “Daliesque” and “audio ninjas” in a biography/description as red flags. This isn’t an altogether negative thing. When my guard is up, that just means that the music needs to work a little harder for me to overlook those red flags. And Elephant Wrecking Ball is a band that makes me more than happy to go back on my judgment, one where I happily push aside the red flags and bask in the knowledge that Ropeadope has signed on a little winner. Barren Serenade is yet another album in a sub-genre where it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out from the pack. And all the same, Elephant Wrecking Ball is already proving itself to be very unique.


Elephant Wrecking Ball is a trio, but the band is not too proud to reach out for outside help. You’ve got trombonist Scott Flynn, bassist Dan Africano and drummer Neal Evan occasionally teaming up with guitarist Mike Keenan (of John Brown’s Body fame) and saxophonist Drew Sayers. The two “audio ninjas” in question are Ben Sword and Scott Hannay, offering up two remixes of Elephant Wrecking Ball songs tacked on the end of the album. Flynn relies on a number of effects for his horn, most notably overdubbing and a rebound/echo that is perfectly timed with the meter. Thankfully, he never overdoes it. Elephant Wrecking Ball never goes for the obnoxious wildcard at any time, come to think of it.


Bass Player


CD Review: Elephant Wrecking Ball "Barren Serenade"

BY  CHRIS JISI (Bass Player Magazine - Editor)

October 1, 2014

Bass clef heaven by way of Berklee and Brooklyn. EWB (trombonist Scott Flynn, drummer Neal Evans, and bassist Dan Africano) describe themselves as a monophonic trio trying to sound as big as a power trio. Mission accomplished on their debut studio disc, as Evans and Africano (subsonic on his P-Bass with a Gibson EB pickup) deliver deep, fat, dub, funk, and fuzz-rock grooves for Flynn’s ambient, effects-enhanced trombone. Tracks like “Stomp, Stomp, Stomp” and “Mountain Lion” pivot on the compelling counterpoint between bass and ’bone, while “This Is How We Slow Dance” morphs into free jazz, but there’s also the pure melody and sympathetic support of “Erin’s Song.”

EWB X Hoplite

Elephant Wrecking Ball has signed with Hoplite for booking representation, and tour dates are lined up for the fall:

11/14 -- Providence, RI -- The Spot
11/15 -- Northampton, MA -- Pearl Street Clubroom
11/18 -- Brooklyn, NY -- Knitting Factory * Knitball - Celebrating 5 years in BK
11/19 -- Burlington, VT -- Radio Bean
11/20 -- Portland, ME -- Asylum
11/21 -- Boston, MA -- Church
12/4 -- Grand Rapids, MI -- Tip Top Deluxe
12/5 -- Columbus, OH -- Scarlet and Grey Cafe
12/6 -- Indianapolis, IN -- The Mousetrap
12/10 -- Baltimiore, MD -- 8x10
12/11 -- Athens, OH -- Casa Nueva
12/12 -- Cleveland, OH -- Agora Ballroom * Winter Warmup 2014
12/13 -- Covington, KY -- Cosmo's