As the wonderful lyric sheet for this CD comes bearing the legend "An Elephant Never Forgets" I have listened to it while watching both the legendary 1935 cartoon An Elephant Never Forgets and the even more Legendary 1952 film The Elephant Never Forgets both with the sound down and using his album as a new soundtrack. In both cases it works brilliantly well.
Considering this is actually a concept album about Topsy the Elephant that was publicly electrocuted by Thomas Edison in 1903 (and it comes with its own 160 page read along comic as well as being made available on Vinyl) this may seem an odd way to experience the album. Yes the comic is well worth a look most of it is up at An Elephant online where you can also buy the album that comes with a direct pdf download of the entire book.
My review CD also arrived with a Bobby Ross baseball card and a free Whataburger coupon that just put a smile on this burger avoider's face. Still, onto the rock opera that is An Elephant that tells the story of this cruel event and asks the obvious question: what was Edison hopping to prove by electrocuting an Elephant? This question is posed over some top notch indie rock as the sparks fly and Topsy suffers an awful death that causes her to come back and Haunt Thomas Alva and boy, does he deserve a good haunting for that horrific act.
Strangely, as the ghost comes back to ask all the questions that need answering, Edison can't ignore the Elephant in the room as Topsy wants to drag him kicking and screaming to his grave. Intriguingly, the plot also worked very well while watching the politicians proudly consigning London's trams to an early grave.
No, Topsy won't fade away, as her memory is brought to life, as she sets about giving Thomas Alva a good haunting, over the totally gross effects of the electrocution. That and just how the voltage destroyed the elephant. All the while, hundreds of people looked on like it was a good thing to see an Elephant get electrocuted. Yes, Fishboy wonders what qualifies anyone to feel this a valid experiment.
The album then shifts to Topsy wanting to be properly buried as is fitting for a sacrificial elephant. Yes, you must dig that hole so she can rest her soul. And yes, she wants to be buried six feet down and wonders why she didn't get a decent burial after her shocking death. The music has a great resonance in conjunction with the lyrics and works very well indeed as music to dig an elephant's grave to.
Yes now Topsy is celebrating being a Ghost; ready to come and haunt the very people who deserve to be haunted by an Elephant!! She is floating, looking at her old self down on the floor, not quite believing she's become a ghost. Yes as an Elephant she can never forget but she can forgive even if Mr Edison isn't worthy of it for this act. Then she is just floating away and gone but certainly not forgotten and this album will not be easily forgotten either.
We now reach the rock opera's finale called (naturally enough) Finale and just helps build things up towards the final track When Your Alone. This track ensures Edison knows that he's never alone as Topsy is always there. It's also the slowest, quietest song on the album but a perfect closer to a very good rock opera that is well worth checking out. But what is it with musical fish and their obsessions with elephants? I really think we ought to be told.