‘Slow Down the Days’ from Forty Elephant Gang - contemporary string-driven folk(October 07, 2014)
There’s nothing like a bizarre name to get you noticed. However, there’s a potential pitfall when a band decides to go down that road – the music has to be good enough to warrant the attention - with the debut EP ‘Slow Down the Days’ from Forty Elephant Gang, there’s no such problem. Their peculiar name hides nothing other than a pretty tight band delivering their own sharp brand of contemporary string-driven folk. Incidentally, adding a banjo to the mix usually lays you open to Americana comparisons, and there’s certainly a touch going on here, but there’s also other influences in evidence. An unmistakeable British influence is clear, a folk-pop feel with early sixties overtones; add strong lead vocal, heavy-duty instrumental skills and fine harmonies, and that’s Forty Elephant Gang.
Their music clearly drives through its mix of guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin, and interestingly it’s this interaction of strings that creates the full attraction, especially as the joins are almost invisible. The four tracks on the EP are well constructed, attractive and memorable - songs like ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘In This Place’ see the band settling into its stride. The intricacy and innovation builds through ‘Telling Lies’ and by the time they hit ‘Hands Out Of Your Pockets’ they show they’re heading for a winning streak. All that’s needed now is the expansion of their output into an album to fulfil the potential.
Forty Elephant gang are Andrew White (lead vocals, guitar, bass) James Bachmann (bass, backing vocals, guitar) Sean Mannion (mandolin) Jack Heaslip (banjo) and Martin Moore (percussion). ‘Slow Down the Days’ is released through Hit Ray Records – find the band here: www.fortyelephantgang.com … and although it really is an odd name I remain intrigued as to its origins.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll