Musician Spotlight: Becoming Elephants

If you pay any attention to the local music scene, you’ve likely heard of Becoming Elephants. If not, sit back and open your ears. The four part prog rock group is made up of locals Jameson Burton on guitar and tenor saxophone; Logan Kennedy on drums; Zack Parham on bass guitar; and Brandon Toney on guitar.

The band has been on our radar since we first encountered them at this past year’s Arkansas Times Musician Showcase. Back in March we were blown away by their live show – they brought a dynamic energy to the stage, making their lyric free, well crafted music stand out.

The instrumental group released a CD on Nov. 7, and it’s pretty badass. At first look, Becoming Elephants: Volume 1 may be underwhelming – your perfect album to fill the background. While there’s nothing genre-breaking, there is some good, solid,  music in the 12-song package.

The group does a great job of mixing rock and jazz elements, falling into prog rock in their own way. At times, you feel as if you’re dropped into an ethereal jazz riff, before a song gathers momentum and reaches new heights through the building bass line and beat.

Opening mysteriously, and then building with the first track, “Espionage,” the album answers with a softer piece, “Black Box.” This happens throughout, and the shorter songs that dapple the album, particularly “Undulate,” “Tessellate,” act as a chance to regroup, to lose yourself in the more subtle emotions of the songs. Those songs, in fact, do a good job of carrying out their title meaning.

Throughout, the album titillates between a laid-back vibe and one fraught with more energy. You’ll find yourself all-out dancing to the faster pieces – for me – “Pacifica,” “Nebulous,” and probably even the slightly chill, but up-beat song – “The Heist.”

Others will have you downright contemplating your mere existence. I couldn’t get over the hypnotic quality of “Milk Way Wishes,” plus – the sax in that song is so mesmerizing.

Mixed by Jason Tedford at Little Rock’s Wolfman Studios, the sound quality is on point. There’s some serious musicianship going on here, and after one listen, you’ll be delving deeper and deeper, noticing new elements you missed the first time through.

Don’t skip this album. Check these tunes out, Little Rock.


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