Many of the albums we come to treasure and return to are those which reveal their beauty and magic over time; albums which may appear overwhelming and daunting at first often come to be the ones that slowly unravel their riches as the years pass. One such is album is 2017’s magnificent Reflections Of A Floating World, the third full-length album from Massachusetts stoner/doom purveyors Elder.
Reflections Of A Floating World saw Elder spread their wings even further, breaking out of the somewhat misleading stoner/doom tag and embracing a greater amount of progressive rock elements into their sound, resulting in their most bewitching songs to date. The album features some great vocal work from frontman Nick DiSalvo’s, as he weaves in and out of the band’s hypnotic melodies with ease, soaring high above when needing to and similarly showing restraint in the quieter sections too. However, it’s the interplay between all band members in the instrumental sections where the album truly shines, when the vocals take a step back and the spectacular musicianship comes brimming to the fore like it does during the stunning middle section of opener ‘Sanctuary’ which features sublime melodic lead work bolstered by one of the tightest rhythm sections you’re likely to hear.
This isn’t mindless jamming either, the music here is deftly drawn, rich and bursting with melody and purpose. To flesh out their sound further for this album, the band also enlisted the help of two additional musicians, with understated keys and pedal steel bringing a subtle extra dimension to their sound, most notable on the quieter sections of gigantic album highlight ‘Staving Off Truth’. Similarly, the keys on the psychedelic-tinged ‘Blind’ offer a perfect anchoring to the blissful guitar riffs and solos that soar overhead whilst ghostly slide refrains helps create an unnerving, stuttering intro to the driving instrumental ‘Sonntag’.
Of the six tracks on offer, only one falls under a ten minute runtime yet not a second of this album outstays its welcome – such is the quality of the songwriting, musicianship and attention to detail. By broadening their palate, Elder broke away from their stoner/doom rock peers to create a multilayered masterpiece that remains timeless. Furthermore, Reflections Of A Floating World is a portrait of a band unwilling to be tethered to one particular genre, and stands as not only Elder’s crowning achievement but also as one of the most innovative, memorable and impressive albums of the past decade.
Words: Adam Pegg