Friday, August 27, 2010

Elf Power: "Elf Power" (album review)

Elf Power are far from rookies on the indie rock scene.  After sixteen years and ten full length albums it must be difficult to find inspiration and keep things fresh for both themselves and their audience.  For their latest self-titled album (out September 14th), the Athens band drew inspiration from the tragic death of their long-time friend Vic Chesnutt.

With that thought never far from mind it's not surprising that the album has a dark overtone that haunts it.  Yes, the sound is still ornate indie pop, but no matter how sunny the songs seem, scratch the surface and you'll reveal something more sinister underneath.

From a purely musical perspective there is ample to latch onto here.  Waves crash as you sway to the breezy pop of "Stranger In the Window".  "Spider Eggs" and "Ghost of John" both boast irresistible hooks.  A violin and clap groove make "Like a Cannonball" a motivation to dance.

It may be the album opener "The Taking Under" that has the most impact though.  The track has a solid base that seems to constantly rise, taking you with it.  It's an inspirational number to set the tone for an album that had a very sombre genesis.

With a large catalogue behind them, there seems to be little left for Elf Power to prove.  Regardless of that, the band set forth and produced an album that stands as a fitting tribute to a friend.

Best tracks: "Stranger in the Window", "Ghost of John"

Track listing for Elf Power:
  • The Taking Under
  • Wander Through
  • Stranger in the Window
  • Like a Cannonball
  • Boots of Lead
  • Spider Eggs
  • Ghost of John
  • The Concrete and the Walls
  • Goldmine In the Sun
  • Tiny Insects
  • Little Black Holes
  • Little Hand
8.0/10

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