Elephant – Sky Swimming
Is the recent explosion of boy/girl electro duos a sign of the artistic times or a necessity born of economic downturn? Austerity rock: everybody’s doing it. But with the market flooded, you demand ever more for your hard-earned. Enter Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck and their debut Sky Swimming, a lustrous and compelling confection that lives up to the poetic promise of its title.
The creative process began on a £10 Casio, a charity shop find that gives the Elephant back-story weight, and makes the leap from its DIY provenance to something this fully-featured and expansive all the more remarkable. And if further indication of their pop heritage savvy were needed, the duo fell in and then out of love during recording. The songs are impeccably crafted: Skyscraper revisits the twilight doo-wop of Julee Cruise while Rivas’ multi-layerered vocal melodies on Torn Tongues recall prime Julia Holter. Lo-fi but high art, Sky Swimming ascends way above the competition. [Gary Kaill]