Release Date: Mar 25, 2008
Record label: Rykodisc
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Of the groups that floated in and out of the orbit of the Elephant 6 Recording collective in the '90s, Elf Power is one of the few that's still alive and productive in the 21st century, and while the onset of semi-professionalism has led Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, Eric Harris, and their partners to abandon some of the more outré aspects of the lo-fi approach that was once their calling card, their ninth album, In a Cave, shows that they're still enthusiastically flying the flag for their own brand of gently lysergic indie pop. Despite a fondness for buzzy keyboards and carefully placed sonic anomalies, In a Cave finds Elf Power embracing a relatively straightforward approach to their music, and "Spiral Stairs," "Fried Out," and "Softly Through the Void" could pass for conventional radio-friendly pop tunes in dim light. However, the wobbly textures of "Window to Mars," the quaking false start of "Quiver and Quake," and the spectral soundscapes of "Heads of Dust, Hearts of Lust" confirm Elf Power hasn't lost touch with its playful qualities, and the songwriting confirms Rieger's vision is still sharp and colorful.
Elf Power's ninth LP wears like a pair of jeans. There might be a few splotches, stains, and holes, but the welcome softness more than compensates for aesthetic imperfections. Such is the case with one of the forgotten members of the Athens, Ga.-based Elephant 6 cadre. In a Cave hauls itself into daylight with the fuzzy-creepy "Owl Cut (White Flowers in the Sky)," marked by electronic droning that captivates rather than irritates.