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Posted on February 24th, 2015 (11:00 am) by Magdalene Taylor

Elephant Micah, the music project of Southern Indiana’s Joseph O’Connell, is known within the quieter areas of both lo-fi and folk scenes for his relatively off the radar releases of the last twelve years. His latest album, Where In Our Woods, however, stands deeply within folk, and more specifically, folklore. The album is stripped of most special effects or distortion of sound, instead consisting mainly of ultra light guitar plucking and minimalist drum beats to highlight the storytelling nature of O’Connell’s lyrics. Though Where In Our Woods is commendable in its careful detail and moments of subdued beauty, the sound is somewhat downtrodden. When listened all the way through, Where In Our Woods is overpowered by a somewhat sad sleepiness that ultimately leads into boredom.

Where In Our Woods has clear elements of nature to it, both lyrically and in terms of rhythmic pattern. O’Connell makes this statement right away in the subtly optimistic first track, “By The Canal.” The nature theme continues, heightened at times by tracks like “Albino Animals” that, at first instinct, appear to have Native American influences with its use of hand drum and wooden flute. These two instruments make multiple appearances on the album, albeit with the same understated quality of the rest of Where In Our Woods.

Surprisingly, the song “Demise of the Bible Birds” veers from the nature inspired imagery and into a somewhat Eastern European, vaguely klezmer sound, both in terms of rhythm and the use of what appears to be an accordion. Still here, Elephant Micah’s voice is soft, and rarely moves far in terms of range. This song, too, has a dismal tone.

Beyond these tracks there is, unfortunately, little of note. The dismal tone of “Demise of the Bible Birds” is an element of nearly the entire album, though the rest of the songs neither have the benefit of the accordion, nor the standout quality of the hand drum and flute as in “Albino Animals.” The remainder of the album falls to the hands of dullness, pushed by minimalism in sound and O’Connell’s pretty, but inevitably monotonous, voice. Elephant Micah’s dedication to simplicity and themes of nature on Where In Our Woods is commendable. Unfortunately, though he may be telling a story, there is little motivation to find out the plot.

Track List

  1. By The Canal
  2. No Underground
  3. Albino Animals
  4. Slow Time Vultures
  5. Demise of the Bible Birds
  6. Monarch Gardeners
  7. Light Side
  8. Rare Beliefs
Elephant Micah - Where In Our Woods Review
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Our Rating

54 / 100
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