Song of the Day: Elephant – Elusive Youth

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Elusive Youth” by Elephant, from the forthcoming 2014 album Sky Swimming on Memphis Industries.

Elephant – Elusive Youth (MP3)

Blending pure melodic instincts with modern psychedelic sensibilities and a magnetic presence, Elephant’s airy, indie-goes-girl-group pop is a musical counterpart to its creators’ own star-crossed story. The project was formed when France-via-Pontefract chanteuse Amelia Rivas (vocals/keys) went to the home of Bristol-born Christian Pinchbeck, whom she met at a house party the night prior. With only a cheap keyboard and a cabinet of alcohol to fuel their initial sessions, the duo composed the headily glistening tracks that would comprise their debut EP in a three-day stay at Pinchbeck’s home not long after meeting. Since then, the duo’s romantic endeavors (they eventually became a couple, then broke up) inspired a slew of new material, leading up to the creation of their debut LP, Sky Swimming. After tracking the band’s progression across the stray singles they’ve released in the interim, “Elusive Youth” feels like the culmination of the band’s experiments. On first listen, it’s buzzing with a breezy confidence, layering bright keyboards under Rivas’ elegant coo, but belying these elements is Rivas’ cleverly fourth wall-breaking narrative of a girl whose wide-eyed search for romance is both stunted and propelled by her penchant for chaos. (“This girl, she wishes/This girl, she wonders/Time is on her side/But raucous does collide”.) “Elusive Youth” is ostensibly a lament, but it feels more like a resolution not unlike the outlook Ezra Koenig so excellently encapsulated on last year’s Modern Vampires of the City; it’s a bold but amiable conjecture that while true love may come yet, the adventure that precedes it may be all the more engaging.

Elephant’s only shows at the moment are a Parisian gig in April and another in London the following month, but if they end up making it Stateside, that news will be posted to their website and Facebook. Below, watch the band’s video for the 2013 track “Shapeshifter”.

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