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Elephants Of Scotland


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Elephants Of Scotland Home Away From Home album cover
3.70 | 98 ratings | 6 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Geograph (6:33)
2. Full Power (5:39)
3. Starboard (8:54)
4. The Seed (5:32)
5. Home Away From Home (3:59)
6. Errol McSquisitor (11:21)

Total Time 41:58

Line-up / Musicians

- John Whyte / guitar, lead (3) & backing vocals
- Adam Rabin / synth, vocals, mixing
- Dan MacDonald / bass, lead (5) & backing vocals
- Ornan McLean / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Adam Rabin

CD self-released (2013, US)

Thanks to Roland113 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ELEPHANTS OF SCOTLAND Home Away From Home ratings distribution

(98 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ELEPHANTS OF SCOTLAND Home Away From Home reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Home Away From Home is the first album by New England based Elephants of Scotland. Once I got over the lack of elephant trumpets or bagpipes, I was treated to a fantastic concept album detailing, to the best of my understanding, the destruction of the Earth and the concurrent escape of an ark of humanity, admittedly, not the happiest of topics.

"Geograph" slaps us from the get go with an energetic keyboard metronome giving the rhythm section of bassist Dan MacDonald and drummer Ornan McLean the first spotlight as they set the groove for the song. The first thing I noticed is how great the toms sound on the drum lead in, and, throughout the rest of the album. Kudos to the band as they have a beautiful mix. After a few moments of chunky groove, chaos crashes in by way of the guitars and organs before we get back to the groove. Next up, we get to hear Keyboard player and main vocalist Adam Rabin voice for the first time. Rabin's voice reminds me of Peter Murphy, fairly unique in prog circles. Geograph goes on from there, maintaining the initial energy throughout. John Whyte shines on his first solo of the album, his tone vaguely reminiscent of Chad Taylor of Live. One other note, major points for having a song about geology (why yes, I'm glad you asked, I am a geologist).

Adam Rabin has another chance to shine again on "Full Power" as his piano leads the way in the beginning of the song to transition to a more atmospheric and lush second half of the song. The interplay between bass, guitar and keys leading into the lush part is wonderful and Rabin's keyboard solo is hauntingly beautiful.

Guitarist John Whyte performed in a 'one-man act that did a lot of Rush songs' prior to playing with the Elephants. "Starboard" was obviously influenced by Rush and Mr. Whyte's work as the song could easily fit on any late seventies Rush album. Whyte also sang the lead on this song, and frankly, he even sounds like Geddy Lee. The interplay of textures between Rabin and Whyte's voices at the end shows a wonderful contrast of styles.

"Home Away From Home" is an interesting song, starting with some very informative vocals, over an almost Police like groove. While the lyrics are crucial to the story line they sometimes stumble over themselves as the words all try to come out on time. The good news is that things really pick up at about the minute-fifteen mark with a nice, driving bass line by MacDonald. Rabin sits back and adds to the atmosphere while Whyte adds a disco-esque rhythm as MacDonald and McLean groove for the next few minutes before Whyte takes over with another wonderfully penned solo. From there the intensity grows until the song climaxes with a chorus over the groove. Great song!

"Errol McSquisitor" is another nice, down-tempo, atmospheric song, most likely the best of the bunch (Full Power, The Seed being the other two). It does show a nice progression in intensity from beginning to end.

All in all, this is a solid first effort, it sounds fantastic, especially for a self-produced album. I'd love to give this a five star rating, but the trio of 'down-tempo, atmospherics' take up a little too much of the album for my tastes. Their sound is unique and an interesting combination of styles. Guitarist John Whyte shows his nineties roots mostly by his tone, while Bassist Dan MacDonald pulls off a fantastic groove reminiscent of a heavier Les Claypool meets Bootsy Collins hybrid. Ornan McLean does a lot of intricate cymbal work throughout the release and finally, Adam Rabin melds it all together adding exactly what is missing at just the moment you realize it's missing. Couple this with the differing voices and you've got a winner. If you like the complexity of classic, symphonic prog with the modern tone associated with the Neo-Prog genre, then give these guys a whirl. A solid four star effort.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all, I cannot help but make a comment on this Vermont based band's moniker, Elephants of Scotland is a catchy, proggy, hilarious and memorable name for a quartet where 2 members are named McLean and MacDonald, who happen to be the rhythm section! Leader and keyboardist Adam Rabin shows off some appropriate Jewish humor by branding their musical union so humorously!

This is a stunning debut from this previously unknown band, composed of musicians who handle their instruments with confidence and ease. Adam does most vocals and displays a barrage of synthesizers to slippery effect, involving lovely piano segments and Manfred Mann-ish bending solos. Guitarist John Whyte has a slashing Lifeson/Summers style that exhilarates, sizzles and soars while drummer Ornan McLean thumps convincingly, using toms, cymbals and his double bass drums to perfection. Solid, solid, solid! Bassist MacDonald nimbly adds his rumble to the mix, giving a sturdy platform for the others to boom along! Every song is a delight, my only slight disappointment is with the overtly Rush- influenced "Starboard" where Whyte's singing has the same uneven tremble that characterized Geddy Lee's mid-period nasal twang. I mean, I understand that Whyte operated a Rush cover band for awhile but this piece, while having genial moments (the drumming and synths), just does not do justice to the previous and ensuing compositions.

On the other hand, the remaining material is plain mesmerizing! "Geograph" with its genial beat, "Full Power" with its sensational shuffle and stunning soloing , the tantalizingly majestic "The Seed" with its utterly gorgeous melody and sumptuous delivery, the sizzling title track with its "Power Windows" feel, a genial vocoder detail and screaming axe shred. And last but not least, the crown jewel arrangement on the sublime and surreal "Errol McSquisitor", all conspire to startle the unprepared listener into being vaulted into sheer bliss. I was expecting something tasty but this was a very enjoyable ride, indeed.

Fans of Rush, The Police and Saga, sympho/Neo prog fans will lap this up with glee! A great debut! Go get this , you will not be disappointed

4.5 Gaelic pachyderms

Review by b_olariu
4 stars In one word: excellent

Elephants of Scotland is from USA and have their first offer issued this year 2013 named Home away from home. Well despite the strange but funny band name the music is top notch, is adventurous, fresh with plenty of memorable passages. Excellent melodic lines but with complicated instrumental moves and above all some very fine , smooth and warm vocal arrangements, really fine album as a whole. From the first piece Gographer to the last Errol McSquisitor , Elephants of Scotland mean bussines. The music is to my ears something between Presto Ballet, Every Waking Hour, Kansas and the title track who is very close of Rush (Signals era), very nice instrumental parts with guitar and keyboards having an important role here. To me this band and particulary this album has many moments of pure joy while listning and for that is recommended for sure. Easy 4 stars, one of the most exciting albums of the year 2013. Very good.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars This album has been steeping in my mind for the better part of a year now. I was in the mood for some great neo-prog, and I was certainly not disappointed when I purchased this debut album from Vermont's Elephants of Scotland. I was, to my shame, attracted by the interesting name and the great, spacey artwork (which, by the way, was voted best artwork of the year by the community on my Facebook page The PROG Mind). In other words, this album has a certain attraction to it from the start.

When I popped it into my player, I was floored by the musical proficiency I experienced. The band has a wonderfully soulful style full of awesome bass lines, catchy guitars, and rip-roaring drum work. They have a classic rock vibe buried in their style that keeps the music moving along without much pause for noodling or the like. When I come to neo-prog, though, I mainly come for the excellent keyboard work, and Elephants of Scotland do not disappoint in this area. They manage to fuse spacey atmospherics with organ leads and solos to great effect. The synthy goodness found in this album, then, had me smiling with glee, as I'm a sucker for synth.

The band has an interesting method of sharing the vocal leads, as three different members offer their performance here. The vocals, then, are always fresh, if somewhat inconsistent in quality. There isn't a "bad" voice in the bunch, however.

In addition to that, there isn't a "bad" song on the album either. I am a big fan of "Geograph" and the ending "epic" "Errol McSquisitor" with its folksy vibe. In fact, that was my favorite track for a long time, but now I'm rather taken with "Full Power" with its incredibly diverse and catchy keys. That is one thing I really noticed about this album: diversity. None of the songs sound the same, even though they may share components. I'm very impressed with this, as it takes strong composition skill to do this.

In the end, Elephants of Scotland are a band worth hearing. They combine classic sounds with new ideas to great effect, and I'm immensely impressed. They have a new album arriving in Spring 2014, so be sure to check it in addition to this album, too.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Three old friends, who played together in an 80's cover band, keyboardist Adam Rabin, drummer Ornan McLean and guitarist John "Lefty" Whyte, decided to fill their need for original Progressive Rock, forming Elephants of Scotland in 2010 in Burlington, Vermont.While writing down new material they met with bassist Dan MacDonald and completed the original line-up.Two years of writing and rehearsing resulted finally to a debut album in early 2013, entitled ''Home away from home''.

Would a paradox band name lead to some paradox music?Answer is yes and no, because Elephants of Scotland play what I would call futuristic Neo Prog, structuring their pieces along the seeds of the 80's British groups, but taking their sound a bit further, adding lots of sound effects and distortions.They remind of acts such as GREY LADY DOWN or GALLEON, introducing an edgier sound, powerful arrangements and less symphonic inspiration, as the album is particularly based on melodies, dynamic rhythms and mascular instrumental passages.There is no question the Americans are fond of classic acts as well.The presence of some mighty organ moves and the combination of melodious with more adventurous textures leave no doubt about that.Musically the band is very solid with dense and interesting pieces, often showered with rockier, TILES-like parts and some more laid-back atmospheric runs, but the majority of the album lies within the principles of modern Neo Prog.A good comparison would be DARWIN'S RADIO.The last track ''Errol McSquisitor'' is the absolute peak of the release, featuring a sensitive first part with atmospheric keyboards, smooth guitars and emotional vocals and a grandiose second one, built on what appears to be the lone symphonic/orchestral segment of the album: Impressive guitar distortions, romantic keyboards and a hypnotic, steady groove by the rhythm section.

Neo Prog from the future.Powerful, rich, rocking and intricate.Great and warmly recommended first step for these bizarre elephants.

Review by Progulator
3 stars Elephants of Scotland's latest album Home Away From Home lays down a lot of familiar elements combined in ways that are fairly conventional but still show skill in composition. The overall vein is thoroughly neo-prog at a fairly relaxed pace, featuring electronic influences such as on the opener "Geograph," tranquil piano playing on "Full Power," a great groove on the title track "Home Away From Home," and loads of atmosphere on the closer, "Errol McSquisitor." Unfortunately, there a few things that were detractors for me, such as the vocals; while they had the right sound there was just something that sounded a tad off about the performance, like intonation that missed the mark often enough to where it felt like something didn't mesh. Apart from that, there seemed to be an overall lack of energy in the recordings, sort of a stagnant feel throughout. In the end, die hard fans of neo-prog may be satisfied but Home Away From Home may have difficulty reaching a broad range of prog audiences.

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