Elf Power 

Back to the Web (Rykodisk)

Elf Power’s Back to the Web is a quieter album than earlier efforts, though it still falls squarely into the psychedelic pop revival category that they — with the help of their Elephant Six littermates — helped to popularize. Songs like ‘Peel Back the Moon, Beware!’ and the album’s opener ‘Come Lie Down With Me (And Sing My Song)’ have deceptively simple melodies, and on first listen seem akin to the sparse neo-folk of Iron and Wine. But on both of these tracks (as on most of the others) Elf Power takes us where they haven’t in albums past. The production quality is clean and exact, free of much of the clamor of previous albums. The added elements of cello, banjo and clarinet are, if nothing else, proof positive that this band has the ability to grow and take risks. If their fun and frenetic 1999 release, A Dream in Sound, presented Elf Power as a fun-loving college student, then Back to the Web finds them a bit wiser, a bit quieter, but still as capable as ever.

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