Magic is anything but child’s play. To be a successful conjurer, one must create the illusion of achieving the seemingly impossible, executed with uncanny ease. The audience’s attention must be captivated by one theatrical display, while behind the scenes the real work takes place under wraps. And so it is with The Black Magic Show, the sophomore release from Elefant.
Scratch the surface, and what the New York quartet has on offer is a riveting set of dynamic pop-rock. But as you pull back the curtain, and investigate in closer detail, it becomes apparent that the album operates on a variety of intricate levels. Upon initial listen, what catches the ear is how much Elefant has matured since its inception.
Three years of performing shows around the world has solidified the band into a tighter, tougher unit than the one behind their critically acclaimed 2003 debut Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid. The interplay between members is audible: Diego Garcia’s voice slithers over drummer Kevin McAdam’s skittish beats on “The Clown,” the pulsating push-and-pull between guitarist Mod and bassist Jeff James that surges through the lead single, “Lolita.”