New To Me – New To You – Elephant

Here’s the question of today, couples in bands, can that work?

Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore split up earlier this year, thus ending music journalists favourite example of couples in bands working out beautifully. It’s certainly true that there’s more terrible examples than good ones.

There’s Abba of course, they were two couples when they started, but in the space of years became none, and even if did give us the only vaguely bearable Abba songs, the emotional split ended up in the band split, and a whole giant mess, journalists still await the day all four will pose together in public again.

Fleetwood Mac, or as they’re commonly known rock’s version of Eastenders, are a famously tangled romantic web! They are another band who had two couples, there was John & Christine Mcvie, and Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Knicks. Both couples split up during the recording of what is generally regarded as their most famous album, Rumours. Stevie shacked up with drummer Mick Fleetwood and Christine started dating one of the stage crew. This lot make Kings Of Leon seem like functional, well rounded, church going boys. Remarkably they’re all still touring together, but then it was the 70’s after all, and if we believe everything we’re told about the 70’s, then everything was probably pretty standard.

If those are classic tales of the dangers, you can add Jack & Meg White, Neil & Peggy Young, and even Wyclef Jean & Lauren Hill…but…whisper it…there are some success stories! There’s Win & Regine from Arcarde Fire, still going, as far as we’re aware, swimmingly, bar his worrying trend of letting her sing too many songs (we are aware most people don’t agree with us on that!) There’s Yo La Tengo’s Ira & George, Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips, and Low’s Alan & Mimi.

So there you go, shack up with your bandmate, start a band with your other half,  maybe you could be the new Kim & Thurston…

ELEPHANT

ele2

Who?
Elephant are duo Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck. Which are both fantastic names, well done their parents!

What?
Their label describe the band as “all trilling keyboards, swooping melodies, broken hip hop beats, looped strings and amelia’s uniquely curvy vocals” which is pretty accurate, though I could do with out the sentence that follows it “that makes you want to clamp your headphones tighter on your ears, letting you swim in its every detail and emotion” eurgh. Theirs is an ambient, laid-back wash of a sound, and a delightful one at that. The songs are heavily focused on relationships and their break down, at least partly because the pair split up during it’s making, which is very Fleetwood Mac of them I’m sure you’ll agree.

Where?
Christian is from the musically fruitful city of Bristol, home to the likes of Portishead, The Pop Group and Robert Wyatt. Amelia is from Pontefract, a market town in West Yorkshire, along with such musical luminaries as…well, nobody as far as I can find, indeed as far as I can see Pontefract’s most famous son is miner, turned professional rugby player, turned wrestler Malcolm “King-Kong” Kirk, who tragically is most famous due to the fact he died in a match with Big Daddy in 1987.

When?
The pair first met at a house party in May 2010, which is very specific. A series of singles appeared on Memphis Industries, starting with Ants back in 2010. The duo finally released debut album Sky Swimming earlier this year, again on Memphis Industries.

Why?
If you like the sound of a band combining the sway of swoon of classic French Pop with slick modern production in the vein of The XX. Amelia’s beautiful vocal is the star, hints of Beach House and Melody’s Echo Chamber, and no hint of Pontefract! The band deal in the popper end of Trip Hop, and recall the likes of 1990s acts St Etienne and Mint Royale. At their best, as on Elusive Youth, they’ve perfected the sound of teenage heartbreak in all it’s bedroom ceiling gazing, overly emotional sadness.

Why Not?
Remember that brief period when everyone went on about chillwave? Well being harsh you could say they missed the boat on that particularly uninspiring moment in time, though there’s enough hints of tunes under the hazy production to lift them above the many other acts trying a similar trick.

Elephant’s debut album Sky Swimming is out now on Memphis Industries.

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