By Christine Leonard
Elephant Shoe Two
Blaze up in the saddle for a ride through a bygone era as singer/songwriter/guitarist Tad Hynes traces the bloodlines of American folk rock and psychedelic pop through the hazy hills of yore.
As he explains, “Around the time I released the first Little Lamb album I had fallen head over heels for Buffalo Springfield, which lead my attention to bands like Poco, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and many more. This late 60s surf/country/western/psych/rock sound had a great influence on the way I wanted the new album to sound.”
The sauntering Morricone-tinged opener “Sun Dance Kid” lays the scene with a sultry Stratocaster strut. All the good vibes continue to shine down on “Mr. Squito” and “Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel” with their weightless falsetto vocals and rippling strings.
Fleshed out by the presence of singer/guitarist Sunny Dhak (Pride Tiger, Three Inches of Blood), who appears on the title track and a couple more, Elephant Shoe Two bounds through a Woodstockian meadow of honeyed harmonies and subversive lyrics. Bravely capricious explorations such as the rocky “Tiger Lily” and “Cool Autumn Breeze” find their counterpoint in melodies as delicate as spider webs on “Carnation” and “Needles of Green.”
Reposed yet acutely observant of its environment, Little Lamb’s bespoke second release recalls the efforts of genre-kaleidoscoping bands like The 13th Floor Elevators and Ween while remaining entirely laced up in thread-puller Hynes’ daisychain of thought.
Best Track: Needles of Green