Elf Power (based in Georgia) is a band, member of the fabled "Elephant 6" collective
(Apples In Stereo,
Olivia Tremor Control,
Neutral Milk Hotel)
that plays psychedelic-pop replete with infectious refrains and oddly baroque
arrangements. A non-trivial factor in this case is the vocalist, South Carolina
native Andrew Rieger. Keyboardist Laura Carter is no less creative as an
arranger. They met at the University of Georgia at Athens.
The band debuted with the album
Vainly Clutching At Phantom Limbs (1994, Arena Rock, 2000) and the
EP Winter Hawk (1995) and a naive folk-pop sound inspired by
All Your Experiments,
When The Serpents Approach,
Vainly Cluthching At Phantom Limbs,
Arachnid Dungeon Attack,
Grand Intrustion Call,
Heroes And Insects,
Exalited Exit Wound.
When The Red King Comes (Arena Rock, 1997) was their first major
statement, albeit still a tentative one.
Step Through The Portal,
Into The Everlasting Time,
Arrow Flies Close,
Icy Hands Will Never Melt Away,
When The Red King Comes,
Introducing Cosmic Space,
Needles In The Camel's Eye,
It's Been A Million Years.
A Dream In Sound (Arena Rock, 1999) is fundamentally a bubblegum
album: cheesy pop for brainless people. Nonetheless, it is the elegance and
the decorum that still makes it unique even within that garbage can.
are almost delirious in the way they rehash stereotypes with such a sense
of self-awareness. Despite the superficial impression, it is also their
most complex and varied album, ranging from the
catchy Rising And Falling In A Little World and
Will My Feet Still Carry Me Home to the
childish sing-along High Atop The Silver Branches, from the
serenade Jane to the dreamy We Dream In Sound, from the
instrumental Carnival to folk-rock ballads.
The Winter is Coming (Arena Rock, 2000),
their most ambitious work yet, redefined their
glossy psych-pop sound with less
Phil Spector's wall of sound and more
bizarre instrumental sketches. The influence of county fairs
(Winter Is Coming)
and musichall skits
now prevailed over the
Beach Boys and the
Embrace The Crimson Tide opens the album with
collective pow-wow rhythm, guitar reverb
(reminiscent of Hendrix's Third Stone From The Sun) and a
Skeleton returns to their straightforward power-pop ripped by heavy fuzztones.
from the exotic trance of Wings Of Light
to the rhythmic frenzy of Leopard's Teeth,
but nothing is revolutionary.
The closing Albatross is even a power ballad propelled by a massive
I am sure it is involuntary, but Creatures (SpinART, 2002)
sounds like the Residents circa
1979 when they were making parodies of pop music
(Rieger's out-of-tune singing, the eccentric keyboard arrangements, the
blatantly cliched rhythms).
There are few surprises (a slightly more aggressive Everlasting Scream,
the ghostly Palace Of The Flames), and the catchier songs
(Let the Serpent Sleep, Visions of the Sea, are as original as
Nothing's Going To Happen (Orange Twin, 2002) is a collection of covers.
Walking With The Beggar Boys (Orange Twin, 2004) is as empty as a
Beatles record without the arrangements (stereotyped dejavu melodies and lots
The joke is funny for just about two minutes (Never Believe).
The Cracks is the only track that makes an effort to sound interesting.
Even less funny was the pseudo-exotic Back To The Web (Rykodisc, 2006),
that often sounded like an album from the British folk revival of the 1960s
(The Spider And The Fly,
Peel Back The Moon Beware,
All The World Is Waiting).
The songs on In A Cave (2008) tried to be more corporeal but turned
out to be faceless,
and serving as Vic Chesnutt's backing band on his Dark Developments (2008)
only highlighted the flaws of their own albums.
Elf Power (2010) is just too plain to justify its existence.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami