Goldspot, And The Elephant Is Dancing

Goldspot, And The Elephant Is Dancing

Goldspot’s And The Elephant Is Dancing is one of those albums to always keep nearby to call on for good times or for comfort on those crappy days when everything seems to be falling apart. Siddhartha Khosla’s clear, sweet voice, a broad vocal range, and music that’s a masterfully produced pop blend of psychedelic Beatles (think Yellow Submarine or George Harrison after his exposure to Indian traditional music), the endless summer sounds of the Beach Boys, and just the right amount of Bollywood musical makes for an infectious combination that inevitably finds me singing along every time I listen to the album.

Even with such strong influences, though, the music is in no way derivative and stands on its own as original, well-crafted pop rock. Co-produced by lead singer Siddhartha Khosla and Beach Boys sound engineer Jeff Peters, the album has a pure, direct, deceptively simple (not to be confused with simplistic) sound that swells with strings, percussion, keyboards, and lots of echo at just the right moments without ever becoming a distraction or sounding overproduced. The music conjures memories of childhood innocence and images of bright days with warm sun on your skin and a clear blue sky overhead.

And yet, with that peculiarly Indian knack for placing seeming opposites comfortably side by side, most of the songs are about lost love. It’s clear that Khosla went through some difficult times while writing these songs and the pains of his struggles run throughout the music and lyrics, both of which are direct and so honest they make it impossible to feel any sense of shame or embarrassment in hearing about his dreams, hopes, and losses or in remembering one’s own. And that frees the music up to have an irrepressible buoyancy that comes through despite the sorrow. It’s a trick Goldspot pulls off better than anyone. I don’t know of any other band that can have me singing lyrics like, “Oh why is this damn life so hard / We spend out time filling the holes in our hearts,” and still feel a sense of hope and optimism.

The lyrics, too, carry apparent contradictions with a mix of an almost naive innocence and a wisdom that can only come from painful experience. “Emily,” a song about starting over, begins with, “Look at this life / We’re a pair of fourteen-year olds holding hands in the sun / If we can be wise we’ll part with the pride set our egos aside for a day…” On a lighthearted, even foolish note, “Call Center Girl” is a frivolous fantasy about falling in love with the voice of a stranger on the other end of the phone. The song has no illusions about the fantasy ever coming true, but it’s knowing that that makes the brief indulgence that much the sweeter.

“Call Center Girl” comes right after “Gopi Blues,” which is by far the saddest song on the album. Tender and heartbreaking, the music keeps the mood from getting too morose or descending into despair. Throughout there’s the sparse rhythm of a drum that sounds like a beating heart. This sound carries the song along, accompanied by melancholy strings, and then the lyrics join the rhythmic pulse of the song in a rising iambic meter that seems to keep the hopes of the singer alive despite a sense of loss and loneliness. About midway through the song, there’s an instrumental bridge that introduces what sounds like a children’s choir that’s been electronically processed until it becomes this haunting backdrop, lending the song an ethereal, almost otherworldly quality. “The Moon Is Too Far” is perhaps the most mainstream pop song on the album, with a chorus that almost channels the Beach Boys a la Pet Sounds. It’s pure alternative pop deliciousness that works — it never descends into vapid bubblegum sweetness.

The album closes with an odd song entitled “Miss Johnson.” Accompanied only by what sounds like a banjo and some occasional electronic keyboard for accent, Khosla’s voice tells the story of revisiting a high school romance with a teacher. I must admit that I initially found this to be a bit on the creepy side. Going back ten years later to make out with one of your high school teachers in the back seat of your car? It’s like hearing “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police told from the other side of the story, except the teacher has given in to his (or, in this case, her) passions.

The difference is that somehow the song manages to escape the Humbert Humbert pall of guilt and pedophilic perversion and emerge full of light and innocence. The song keeps me swinging jerkily back and forth between hard-bitten cynicism and untarnished idealism but ultimately leaves me a believer, if not in the real possibility of untainted love then at least in the importance of always keeping within ourselves somewhere a sense of innocence. And that’s a nice thing to believe in.

(Goldspot Music -- http://www.goldspot.net; Goldspot -- http://www.goldspot.net)
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, November 4th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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5 Responses to “Goldspot, And The Elephant Is Dancing

  1. Goldspot on November 6th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Thanks for the great review,

    Goldspot

  2. Priyanka on September 16th, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I love Goldspot….. Best ever! On happy days, Sad days and all days!! Their music makes me slide through a multitude of emotions in a single swig……. and then the wistful nostalgia…… Cathartic…… it gives me the courage to smile at my past, a wistful, wishful smile and then turn turn in opposite direction and keep walking ahead with a bright smile! For times to come, moments to be cherished and mistakes to be made :D Hail Goldspot…… keep it up guys!!

  3. Rahuk on June 8th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Thanks very much for this excellent review.
    I have been looking all over for ‘Gopi Blues’ lyrics but couldn’t find. In case you have them available please share. Thanks.

  4. Akshay on May 12th, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Didn’t find the lyrics of Gopi Blues anywhere, so I simply made a video with the lyrics on, as I heard them. Enjoy.

    http://youtu.be/d1UCEX5cGmk

  5. Anita on October 5th, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Thanks for the wonderful review. It’s always a joy to find fans of Goldspot who share the same sensibilities. I found this blog while listening to “Miss Johnson” on loop. It’s such a heartbreaking and sweet song at the same time. You’re right in saying that Goldspot is the only band that can be melancholic and inspiring at the same time. It’s always bittersweet, but leaning more towards sweet, listening to them. And it’s because they focus on the music and lyrics without overwhelming the songs.

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