A darkened room, thick velvet drapes drawn against the harsh sunlight.
Oriental hangings decorate the walls, the smell of incense hangs heavy
in the air, and paisley-bedecked hipsters lounge to the strains of
the soft, vaguely psychedelic sounds wafting from the record player.
Listening to this latest work from Elf Power brought back
those halcyon days in Haight-Ashbury (well, not that I was there myself,
having grown up musically on 70s punk - but my mother in law told
me all about it). First time listeners could be forgiven for assuming
they're listening to a reissue of some long-lost soft-psych classic
from the 60s, but Elf Power turns out to be very much a band of the
present. They're part of the Elephant 6 collective that spawned such
musical jesters as Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor
Control, and have been making mind-altering records like this
for over ten years now. If you're partial to The Byrds' softer
moments, The Zombies or The Left Banke, to name but
a few, you could do worse than investigate here.
The songs on Back To The Web are mostly pretty, and acoustic-based,
with sweet-voiced singer / instrumentalists Andrew Weiger and
Laura Carter harmonizing the frequently hallucinogenic lyrics
. "Rolling Black Water" is a fine example, very atmospheric
with its acoustic guitar, hand percussion and some lovely cello at
the end. Some songs like "King of Earth" recall more traditional
folk music, or at least the type of prog-folk the likes of The
Incredible String Band used to traffick in. "Somewhere Down
the River" brings a darker mood with its vaguely Arabic melody
and distorted electric guitar, while "Back to the Web" itself
closes the album on a more overtly Eastern theme, using droning violins
to embellish an up-and-down melody.
This sounds like a fine album for those long, hazy summer days
ahead, and makes me want to delve further into the work of Elf Power
and Elephant 6 in general.
1. Come Lie Down with Me (and Sing My Song)
2. An Old Familiar Scene
3. Rolling Black Water
4. King of Earth
5. Peel Back the Moon, Beware !
6. 23rd Dream
7. Somewhere Down the River
8. The Spider and the Fly
10. All the World is Waiting
11. Under the Northern Sky
12. Back to the Web
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