CD released: Apr 09, 2021
The raw inspiration for Vague Tidings, Elephant Micah's third effort for Western Vinyl, comes from a DIY tour of the 49th state. It was a trip that went off the beaten path-sometimes a bit too far for comfort. Now, over a decade later, listeners find songwriter-producer Joseph O'Connell stationed at a creaky spinet piano, singing about the Alaskan sky. Throughout, his lyrics take a new angle on a pet theme: human encounters with the natural world. Vague Tidings places these encounters in the American West and, at times, in its sci-fi corollary, outer space. Its imagery draws from the allure of Alaska, the idea of Western prosperity, and the human relationship to wilderness more broadly. Often, O'Connell sings about the goal of capturing and commodifying nature. In poetic sketches of resource extraction industries and dark sky tourism, frontier lust runs amok. Pipelines catch fire and stars disappear, all to the tune of a stark, uncanny Americana.