Elephant – Sky Swimming

Sky SwimmingElephant are a lo-fi music loving pair whose work harks back to the heyday of bedroom pop, both in the technical and literal harking sense. Last year saw much rejoicing as the London couple, Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck, reunited after heavy differences to continue their musical journey to a time where French hip-hop keys ruled the world. Now delivering the debut album we almost missed, Sky Swimming has no shortage of candidates for comparison, yet it’s a distinctive record that always welcomes you back with a variety of moods to suit.

The first track “Assembly” might satisfy those drawn in by nods tipping the hat towards Tennis and Summer Camp, but it makes a sizable noise in the crowd with percussion that perfects an eerie keyboard and atmospheric riff. The varying vocal melodies and speedy arrangements on “Allured”, “Shipwrecked” and acoustic wonderment on “Golden” meanwhile, suggest that the same experimental nature that churned out for their first EP with a £10 Casio was kept much intact for Sky Swimming’s recording process, though an overall crisp production effort keeps everything a more concerted effort.

The London derived genre idolizer Christian and French-by-way-of-Pontefract fatale Amelia claim to have been instantly united under a banner of similar influences. It’s easy to mark any and all examples of their inspirations. There’s sounds to be found from other lost-in-eras bands like Cults and La Sera, but also hints of much older goldies like Earth, Wind & Fire in the dominating keys and energy of some of the livelier bits.

There is a case to be made however that a far nearer equivalent may in fact be Emily Wells; and not just by sound alone, since both acts rely upon mixing easily recognizable styles for absolute full effect. You can see this coming into play with “Ants” bouncing a sickly synth-pop feeling over a guitar sound unheard of before the 90’s, within the title track’s lounge piano fed hip hop beat and undoubtedly throughout the latest single “Shapeshifter”’s film strung score-appeal, one that almost turns to trance as it closes up the record.

Sky Swimming is capable of invigorating the listener’s surroundings with 12 interchangeable atmospheres, and few are preferential over one another. As a musical partnership, Elephant may be subject to the warring strengths of the personalities behind the scenes, but that’s just something to abide, especially as long as there’s ample shared ground such as this superb spruced-up vintage collection being supplied.

Release: 24th April 2014, Memphis Industries

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