We Are Elephant: Safe Travels

Score: 8/10 – happy trails.
Immediately recognisable for not being elephants, We Are Elephants are in fact UK south coasters Ed Greenfield (vocals) and Joe White (guitars) – two accomplished musicians who have been separately bouncing around the Bournemouth live circuit for some time.
Born out of a series of informal jam sessions, “Safe Travels” finds the pair joining forces (along with a little help from local gin baron Rupert Holloway on gob-iron and cellist Lillian Penner) to produce a collection of easy-going acoustic feel-good songs, inspired by their hometown of Bournemouth, Dorset. Drawing on their musical influences – think Gomez, Ben Howard, Damien Rice, Xavier Rudd and, to some extent, Jack Johnson – the album sticks to a familiar blueprint of roots, blues and folk sounds.
Greenfield’s hushed vocals are easy on the ears – soft and inviting on the quieter numbers (“Only Love”, “Song For You”, “Low Tide”), but still with enough gravitas to give clout to the more bluesy offerings like “The Beat” and the happy-go-lucky “Ears And Eyes”. Meanwhile multi-instrumentalist White strums, slides and fingerpicks his way through the album, adding in subtle harmonies when needed like on standout “Sinner” and the gorgeous freewheelin’ title track. Percussion is limited to handclaps, tambourines and a few drum taps, giving everything the kind of stripped-back ambiance that can often be tricky to nail down. The layers are kept simple yet are skillfully built up, resulting in a range of songs that feel greater than the sum of their parts.
For a self-produced debut LP “Safe Travels” sounds extremely well polished – coasting by as effortlessly as a summer jam session at the beach. In short: a dose of acoustic loveliness that is well worth a spin, especially when you can download it absolutely gratis through weareelephant.bandcamp.com
Dan Ashcroft
Like this? Try these:

Damien RiceMy Favourite Faded Fantasy
Curmudgeonly Irish muso comes out of hiding.

Angus & Julia StoneChocolates & Cigarettes
Debut EP from acoustic Aussie siblings.

GomezBring it On
Manchester student union blues.

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