Unless you're a barfly or an Enzyte stockholder, "stiff" isn't a very fetching adjective. At best, it connotes cold reserve and efficiency; at worst, it means corpse. And yet stiff will go down as the prevalent rock descriptor of the early '00s, when The Strokes and Interpol appropriated plenty of rigid riffs -- but few of the fluid underpinnings -- of vintage post-punk. Elefant's 2003 debut, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid, had an adding-machine beat that ticked precisely between the pop wind-up of The Strokes and Interpol's sourpuss pulse. But "Lolita," the first glimpse of The Black Magic Show, Elefant's imminent sophomore effort, almost sounds like the product of a living, shitting band. Leader Diego Garcia has whipped his group into a semblance of organic life, crafting a single with both breadth and breath -- curiously mirroring the recent evolutionary leap of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, with whom Elefant just kicked off a two-month tour. They still look like hipster ball sacs decked out in all black and last year's long hair, but at least they've learned to loosen up a little.


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