Elephant Island
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Elephant Island

Band Pop Acoustic


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Elephant Island @ Hermann's Jazz Club

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Elephant Island @ The Solstice Cafe

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Elephant Island @ The Superior Cafe

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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This band has not uploaded any videos



A couple days ago, one of my music nerd pals and I were discussing listening habits. We immerse ourselves in albums when we first get them, studying each note, word and piece of info presented to us. This usually lasts a month or so. Then the album goes away for a while and then it resurfaces to a newfound apprecitation - which is exactly what happened with the debut EP from local mellow popsters Elephant Island.

After seeing them perform many times, I was enthralled to take the magic home with me. The disc's six lush tracks (especially "Snow") had me once again swooning at the hushed acoustic guitar, accordion and brushed drum interplay that backs the gorgeous four-part harmonies. Treat yourself to this, your new favorite Sunday morning record.

- Bill Stuart, Monday Magazine - Monday Magazine

I can't really recollect the exact moment that Elephant Island began their set. Slowly wafting through the theatre like smoke through a burning house, the band's assault was of a unique pedigree. Rather than winning over the audience's collective heart with brute force, they chose to wage a war of attrition, wearing them down with hypnotizing compositions that inspired deep contemplation, only to have that concentration broken by the next beautiful movement. I was left with the feeling of stunned heartbreak after the lights brought a close to a great set.
- Andy White - The Metropolitan

Have you ever heard music so warm that you wanted to bundle up in the songs on chilly evenings? If you haven’t, chances are you’ve yet to hear lady and gentlemen Elephant Island. And for that you should be ashamed, especially with fall upon us....

Over the 13 tracks on Monument, the band showcases a brassy boldness from the opening of “Criminal” through the lush dream that is “Nighttime.” At points between, the band shows not only a subdued song mastery that was present on their earlier self-titled EP, and during their memorable live sets, but also a sense of playfulness not always associated with intelligent pop music.

Bill Stuart, Monday Magazine, Oct 5, 2006 - Monday Magazine

The songs are texturally rich... The pedal steel, slight snare tapping and hushed piano exhibit great musical restraint that is consistent throughout the thirteen tracks. The quality of music is matched equally with the song writing, which is engaging and unexpectedly refined.

Jesse Ladret, brandxmedia.ca, Dec 2006 - Brand X Media

The New York Times and Harper’s magazine have reported that Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is at an all time high... Happily, Elephant Island, an experimental folk-rock quintet from Victoria BC, has arrived on the scene to ease tensions betwen the two groups of mammals. E.I’s “The Hypnotist,” with its themes of loss and nostalgia and its appropriately hypnotic cadence, will soothe the high-strung herd... Each line brims with intelligence and touching imagery:

'I wake up each morning, think of you as often,
far from the fires my muscles have softened...
imagine my return, the bow of my ship,
my anchor tattoos, my moustache, my dance steps"

We recommend this song for all terrified, warm-blooded beasts, for all those who can too easily “turn a minute of momentum into panic, into flight.”

Liam Young, This Angry Canadian, Dec 2006 - This Angry Canadian

Victoria’s best kept secret… the music of Elephant Island is a fragile swarm of melodic melancholia, a thing of sighing beauty. A musical arc of emotional depth, Don’t Say You Don’t Know… ventures through themes of hope, desire & doubt, all channeled through the aching, wandering falsetto of singer Galen Hartley. Accordion, cello, trumpet, saxophone, upright bass & mellotron all shape the sound, shaking up the arrangements a bit from the standard fair. An album for fans of mature, sincere indie pop a la Will Oldham & Shearwater. - www.ditchrecords.com

To paraphrase a song title from this local band's resplendent new album, this is a band that needs no introduction. Sadly, only the wisest fans of intelligent pop music have latched on to the stunning works of Elephant Island. Hopefully this disc will help win over a few more visitors to the plush paradise of Elephant Island, both here and abroad. The quartet of Jamie Cummins, Galen Hartley, Marc Jenkins and Kelby MacNayr welcome strings-and-horns help from Laura Clement, Alfons Fear, Glen Manders and Brooke Maxwell, all culminating in Elephant Island's most glittering and fully realized release to date. The band bolsters their usual gentle take on roots-pop with a bit more muscle and energy to wonderful result. As the band grows in prowess, so too do Hartley's lyrics, turning phrases so deftly that you can't help but smile and go back for repeated listens.

Bill Stuart - Monday Magazine


Elephant Island - Don't Say You Don't Know What You Want, released January 2009

Elephant Island - Monument, released October 2006

Elephant Island - s/t released March 2004



The music on Elephant Island's third album Don't Say You Don't Know What You Want is built on tension; a desperation that's kind of warm and cozy. Over the course of its ten songs, singer Galen Hartley seems to argue every angle of a private madness, retracing his steps over themes of family entanglement, doubt and desire. In accompaniment, the band roams wild across the territory of Elliott Smith, João Gilberto and The Zombies, creating a dynamic indie folk landscape.

Elephant Island started as a quiet sound: an accordion's wheeze drifting out a bookstore window atop only finger-style guitar, finely textured drums and haunting vocal harmonies. Beautiful and unusual music. Long songs played at low volumes for seated audiences and documented to great effect on their self-titled debut in 2004.

With the understated grandness and manic edges of Monument, released in 2006, the band announced its entrance into the world of shorter songs meant to be played standing up.

Don't Say You Don't Know What You Want was generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and will be released by Aaargh! Records in January, 2009. Featuring the addition of cello, trumpet, saxophone, upright bass and mellotron, it is the group's most ambitious recording to date, a concise and purposeful account of honesty, illusion and uncertain victories.