Invisible Elephant - Anomie or Swimming in a Black Sea
Record Label: Two Hands Music (UK/Australia)
Release Date: August 15, 2011
The short opening track on Invisible Elephant’s second album is really, really creepy. And you know what? I should have expected it from a piece of work that is operating under the collective title Anomie or Swimming in a Black Sea. A look into the title leaves us with the options of interpreting the album from a sociological viewpoint “into a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of socials norms or values” – a.k.a. anomie – or thinking about it as one person moving through dank, darkened water. Either option leads us to one thing: This album is about one person making socially excluding music. It is a project that will not resonate with everyone. In fact, it will most likely resonate with just a few. So now, you and I will have to ask ourselves do we belong to the group of these few select individuals? It’s a personal question, being evoked from personal music.
Is this work a masterpiece? No, it’s not. But is it a worthwhile effort? Yes. If you were a fan of the first effort, you might find that this album to be both more piercing and softer in certain parts. “Black Sound” is the most striking in the ferocity stakes. The track does enough to not sound too heavy, but instead hits the chords of composed energy. The drumming trickles along. The guitar quavers. Track “Everything” crawls along at a snail’s pace and experiments with many layers of vocals. They are sometimes background noises; they are sometimes taking centre stage; sometimes, they are a woman. It is haunting and continues the creepiness that was introduced on the short opening piece “Commercial Appeal.” The opener sounds like it was flat-out taken from The Sixth Sense, although I can assure it is an original composition. That piano – eek!
The moments that ground this album in reality come through when real-world elements creep into the sonic progression: rain/air movement/coughing/children talking. The work is essentially a garage project with the work having been recorded IN a garage. But the production is spectacularly clear, and this is the saving grace for the quiet sections on the album. On songs such as “Where is Home from Here?” and “When it’s All Over,” where the piano or guitar or cymbal work is still and simultaneously floating, the excellent production reaps its rewards. The only track to feature a contributing artist is “Wish [ft. Ryli],” and this addition brings an almost folk twist to the mix. The album itself is pretty short, but it gets an awful lot done. It’s very expansive, but ultimately, it is down to the individual listener to judge if this is the kind of all encompassing music for you.