Album Review: Elephant Revival “Sands of Now”

Sands of Now is Elephant Revivals fifth major release.

“Sands of Now” is Elephant Revival’s fifth major release.

Parker Reed

Colorado based, folk-rock quintet Elephant Revival’s fifth release “Sands of Now” is a live album recorded over two sold-out shows at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO.

Along with the live tracks, “Sands of Now” also features two new studio recorded tracks at the front of the album.

“Shadows Passed” starts the album off with some slick guitar work from Daniel Rodriguez before being joined by Bonnie Paine’s hesitant vocals.

The opening track features many tempo changes from a leisurely, mid-tempo feel to a frantic, stop-and-go pace.

The song comes to a climax with dueling violin and banjo solos before finally returning to the original tempo to close the track.

“Sands of Now” finds Charlie Rose taking a hold of the lead vocal responsibility with excellent harmonies provided by Paine.

The track also features exceptional instrumental work with the solo violin and banjo returning, but ultimately feels like a less dynamic retread of the opening track.

The rest of the album is pulled from the groups live performances and feature both triumphant highs and mediocre lows.

“Fallout Fields” features a somber first half before progressing into a cinematic climax featuring hammering sixteenth-note banjo lines and punching strings.

The track sounds like it could have been influenced from a number of folk artists from the power-houses in Mumford and Sons to the lesser known, Oak and Gorski. Its charming tone leads to an album highlight.

Other musical highlights include the bluesy “Drop” and the sharp closer, “Sing to the Mountain.”

While the album is not heavy on strong lyrical content, there are a few lines that standout. Paine’s delicate voice sells the line, “We may never be perfect, maybe that’s the point,” in “Will Carry On.”

Elsewhere, Rose’s optimism shines through on “Cosmic Pulse” when he sings, “If time’s a river, we’ll reach the sea.”

Unfortunately there are other less notable tracks on the album.

“Spinning,” “The Garden” and “Stolen” failed to leave much of an impression, while the groovy bass line of “Lost Creek” was followed by a mediocre track.

“Sands of Now” is a solid live folk album with two great new studio recordings from the Colorado based quintet.

Perhaps if some of the group’s newer tracks could be added into their live shows, a future live release may be great rather than good.

Recommended tracks: “Shadows Passed,” “Sands of Now” and “Fallout Fields”