Fishboy

An Elephant

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AllMusic Review by

Fishboy's leader Eric Michener has a thing for concept albums. After one (Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll) about trying to save Texas with the help of Buddy Holly's ghost and one (Classic Creeps) about a group of interconnected fake people, the band delves into the story of Thomas Edison and Topsy the Elephant. Taking place after Edison killed Topsy during an experiment designed to show the dangers of alternating current, An Elephant is a rip-roaring tale of ghost pachyderms, revenge fantasies, sadness, and letting go that's delivered with a level of energy and commitment that would make Pete Townshend proud. He'd definitely admire the clarity with which Michener tells the story; he'd also admire the crunch of the guitars and the power of the bass and drums. He'd also think it was good that while the songs fit together like the storyboarded puzzle they are, any of them can be extracted to stand alone as top-notch indie pop/rock. Michener has a knack for writing melodies that sound pocket-sized and epic at the same time, and this project is full of gems like "Elephant in the Room" and "Bury My Body" that showcase his skills. He wrote a few, like the beautifully rendered "Floating Away" that soundtracks Topsy's farewell to Earth, that transcend the story he's telling and strike some deep chords of universal feeling. The album may sound like a cutesy concept on the surface, but the way Michener writes from the heart, the inherent sadness of the story, and the ferocity with which the group plays turn An Elephant into something much more than that. Whether one is a fan of concept albums or just hard-hitting, hook-filled indie pop, it's an album worth seeking out.

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