Over the course of writing and recording their debut album Sky Swimming, Elephant’s Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck fell in and out of love with one another. The British duo met at an all-night party in 2010 and started writing together as their relationship blossomed. They started out simply, working with a cheap Casio keyboard and lo-fi recording equipment, but the setup was too limiting. Elephant’s songs quickly bloomed into full-band efforts, marrying girl-group harmonies with drum samples and synths.
Even as Rivas and Pinchbeck ended their romantic connection, they maintain a creative one on Sky Swimming, out April 28. Standout “Elusive Youth” clutches the simplicity of their early demos like a painful memento. Rivas’ sing-song melody is given a pop sheen, but there’s a darkness underneath that hints at forbears like the Cure or Camera Obscura. The duo has lived the painful emotions they sing about in their songs, lending them that much more power.