By Sanjeev Selvarajah
The band Elephants is having an album release show at Somerville’s Precinct on April 16 at 8 p.m. This fantastic four is made up of Lauren Garant on guitar and vocals, Ryan Young also on guitar, Meagan Day on bass, and Mike Cashin on drums. Under the disguise of an alternative band their medleys are delightfully new wave with a post-punk banner.
“I started out playing bass in a punk band with my friends in high school and started playing guitar in college, mostly jamming with friends. Elephants started out when Lauren was working on some songs and I thought, ‘I could add to that.’ So we started collaborating that way,” said Young.
Garant also specifies their origins as going far back to a friendship with Meagan. “I started playing in a band in college with Meagan, but we went on ‘indefinite hiatus’ when we graduated. After that I was playing by myself for a while, writing but not performing. Ryan and I started working together really organically. He was writing parts for a second guitar to a couple of songs I was working on at first, but then we started actively writing songs together. We played as an acoustic duo for a while and then we went full-band when we got in touch with Mike. Meagan moved to Boston a couple of months later and started playing with us in June of 2011.”
The only concern with their arrangements is the off-kilter drums on Fortunes, however on closer examination, the persistent minimalism of the rhythm section is highly likely intended. It’s arranged to cue the accompaniment and to tease the self-contained rhythm. The drumming doesn’t add to much in the next two songs, but is suspense building up to a thematic reset, because with the press of a button an eclipse occurs during The One Thing and the drumming suddenly resurrects a symphony.
After The One Thing it’s smooth sailing for the band and the four move in line with the ambience of apropos rhythm. “Is this the time of my life,” sings Garant in Taste that Damn Miracle, the song that follows The One Thing. The latter has one of Garant’s favorite lines. “This is hard for me because I write their lyrics! I guess I’d have to say one of my favorites is in The One Thing, ‘I’ve tasted luck in the form of your paper smile.’ It’s about making friends in unexpected ways and feeling fortunate that you met them, which is a good feeling.”
The band practices in a local garage and clocks in a healthy session weekly. They often practice acoustically which helps to sound out the instruments just as some writers like to pen their first words on paper before hitting the keyboard. After the rhythmic redux with The One Thing, there is no more ambivalence about the set pieces. Everything fits. Come celebrate the band’s album release on April 16. Honest Blood, Sleep Crimes, and Catalion will also be playing at Precinct that night. “UNregular radio has been putting on a lot of shows there lately. It’s really great what they’re doing for the local scene,” says Mike Cashin about Precinct.