Elephant - 88 album review: a bittersweet masterpiece
Pizza Pizza Records
When life’s experiences have worn you down, it’s easy to look back and place the blame on one moment or one action. Elephant’s second album 88 is a nostalgic and bittersweet concept album that unpacks a lifetime of heartache, anxiety, handwringing, disappointment and faint glimmers of hope that all started one summer and one lost love.
Opening with Summer, Dundalk man Shane Clarke pines for the summer that changed everything when he was a young man. Its soft melody is distorted by a rush of sounds and old audio clips, bringing that “happiest summer” to a crashing end. The Waiting Game is a particularly rich song; textured, big and bursting with frustration. Tipping into an 1980s soundscape, the choruses on 88 can be large and sweeping, aided by some perfectly placed brass and guitar solos. Lyrically, Clarke has placed his deepest concerns out into the world, capturing the regrets that can totally engulf us if we don’t find the tools to move on.
88 is self-examination at its most brutal and relatable but Clarke has achieved something really beautiful by taking one moment and examining the atomic impact in can have on the rest of your life.