The music on Elephant Island's third album Don't Say You Don't Know What You Want is built on tension; a desperation that's kind of warm and cozy. Over the course of its ten songs, singer Galen Hartley seems to argue every angle of a private madness, retracing his steps over themes of family entanglement, doubt and desire. In accompaniment, the band roams wild across the territory of Elliot Smith, João Gilberto and The Zombies, creating a dynamic indie folk landscape.
Elephant Island started as a quiet sound: an accordion's wheeze drifting out a bookstore window atop only finger-style guitar, finely textured drums and haunting vocal harmonies. Beautiful and unusual music. Long songs played at low volumes for seated audiences and documented to great effect on their self-titled debut in 2004.
With the understated grandness and manic edges of Monument, released in 2006, the band announced its entrance into the world of shorter songs meant to be played standing up. Don't Say You Don't Know What You Want was generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and will be released by Aaargh! Records in January, 2009. Featuring the addition of cello, trumpet, saxophone, upright bass and mellotron, it is the group's most ambitious recording to date, a concise and purposeful account of honesty, illusion and uncertain victories.
Jamie Cummins Wurlitzer, Accordion, Piano
Galen Hartley Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Marc Jenkins Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel
Kelby MacNayr Drums