B. Snow Day
Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck don’t just sing about feverish, frayed and fractured romances – in the three years since forming Elephant, they’ve been living one.
Their first recordings, recorded in the strung out early mornings after the night before, were delirious and light-headed. Rivas’ stream of conscious lyricism combined with Pinchbeck’s innate melodic nous to create vignettes of delight and wonder. A debut single followed, 2011’s woozy Ants, followed by the Assembly EP. But before they had a chance to capitalise on the growing acclaim around them the duo’s relationship broke down, almost to the point of no return.
That seemed to be Elephant’s graveyard. Yet an unexpected rapprochement in late 2012, and a renewed musical hunger saw Rivas and Pinchbeck reconcile. The first fruit was this year’s gauzy single Skyscraper, which announced their return in spectacular fashion, with Rivas’ swooping vocals allied to a spectral chorus creating an eerie, lens-flared 3 minute wonder of song.
Now, new release Shapeshifter provides confirmation that Elephant are truly back as a force to be reckoned with. “I flew to the moon to mirror you and I saw the future” sings Rivas, with a raw melancholy and nostalgic longing. A sumptuous missive of love lost and lessons learned, that sparkles with charm, optimism, and the sort of lush swoonsome string arrangements that reach into your chest and wring your heart dry.
Backed by the sparse and stretched out Snowday, as icily cool as it sounds, full of chiaroscuro contrasts and flickering atmospherics, it’s a release that suggests their debut album is set to be one of the standout albums of 2014.