Yoni Wolf, the genre-dodging maverick and chief architect behind Elephant Eyelash, doesn’t need you to know who he is. You might have heard his half-sedated rapping on Clouddead’s Ten or Hymie’s Basement’s self-titled. His relative obscurity is due mainly to his insatiable appetite for experimentation and resultant name-shuffling. This anonymity could be seriously threatened by his latest.
Elephant Eyelash is a fearless collage of shimmering rock songs, poetic musings and artfully crafted notes. After an edgy opener, “Crushed Bones,” Wolf softens his delivery, puts away the turntable and sings his way through the duration of an eclectic rock album.
Wolf’s voice is thin and nasal and his lyrics are like the words you’ll find carved into bathroom stalls – shameless and raw – nothing is off limits. Turntables, synthesizer, pedal steel, pots and pans all make appearances on Eyelash. This experimental instrumentation reaches near-virtuosity on “Fall Saddles.” A violin announces the start and soon a horn collective broods until an always-welcome synthesizer punctuates the end.
Lyrics and music cooperate seamlessly on “Light Leaves,” “and if you do leave the Earth / When the earth leaves you – there’s no hip-hop hurray / Heaping heaven golden bone gateway / There’s no mound of clouds to lounge on.” They are surrounded by the drums that bolster Wolf’s vocals for a gloomy but shiver-inducing ending.
Experimentation often leads an album astray. On Eyelash, Why? finds a way to keep on exploring without getting lost.
Music Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars