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Elephant Micah: Message In The Mystery

Elephant Micah.
Courtesy of the artist
Elephant Micah.

Elephant Micah, a.k.a. Joseph O'Connell, has been quietly releasing folk music out of Bloomington, Ind., for more than 10 years. The latest, Louder Than Thou (available as a "pay what you want" download on his website), offers a refined throwback to '70s folk-rock, laced with modern, dark Americana.

"Airline Living" opens with a bit of psychedelic cacophony that morphs into a steady guitar melody and bass line, while soft harmonies, searing cymbals and smoky saxophones fill in the cracks throughout. As the closing track to Louder Than Thou, "Airline Living" steps back and reflects on the record and its message by revisiting scenes and emotions — though it ultimately comes to no grand realization or understanding.

O'Connell sings about how the views from a plane and a seascape horizon are beautiful, but decides that, since they both have "bad handwriting," it's unclear what they imply. That ambiguity gives the song particular power: Its last line, "So long until I meet you again," is sung so earnestly, it's sure to force different meanings onto different people, depending upon their place in life and state of mind.

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