Already two parts of the refreshing and talented Tear Away Tusa, vocalist Erin Tusa and guitarist Sam Schwartzbein still had a lot to creatively express that didn't quite fit in with the band's sound so they teamed up with Josh Kestenberg on drums and Oren Cantor on bass to create Episteme, a group that's existed alongside Tear Away Tusa for a while now but hasn't seen any official releases until now with their live album The Elephant In The Room. As much as I typically don't prefer live albums or videos as my introduction to music that's new to me because I find studio versions easier to absorb at first listen, the live atmosphere that encompasses the album through live recordings taken during multiple shows over the course of 2012-13 turns out to be one of its strongest assets, with the setting allowing the freedom and spontaneity to jam, which Episteme takes full advantage of! The title track even gets two separate takes at the beginning and end of the album, the first of which places Tusa's vocals and improvisations on the forefront, while the second take goes on an extended instrumental jam, but neither version ignores the other aspect, and they both come together as fully-perfected masterpieces that hold the rest of the album together as superb bookends.
While most of the eight songs exceed run times at over five minutes, The Elephant In The Room doesn't drag and the complexities of the songs have everything to do with that, from long guitar solos ("The Needle And The Damage Done/Heart of Gold Suite", "Colours"), to groovy, dynamic drums and bass bass ("A Lieber of Cola", "Heart of Gold Suite"), and vocals from Tusa that could easily be considered an instrument all their own, ("A Lieber of Cola"), with most of these elements coming into play all in the same songs. Even the shorter tracks aren't there just for padding, with the scorned "7 of 9" and faster paced "Crosstown Traffic" filled to the brim as well, though Episteme's attention to detail never makes the songs overwhelmig either, with more than enough space and time to absorb and respect every piece that makes up The Elephant In The Room. Though Schwartzbein warns that the music isn't for everyone, I disagree and believe that if everyone opened their minds just a little bit, that even if Episteme wasn't their sound of choice they'd still respect the talent and skill that went into making it, and the band definitely has that in spades. It's impossible for me to do The Elephant In The Room the full justice it deserves and capture every detail in writing, so if you're in the mood for something new and want to broaden your musical horizons, and maybe even want the energy and unpredictability of live music, you couldn't do much better than Episteme!