Elf Power just created one of the best neo-psychedelic pop albums ever, and Ink 19 is letting me write about it. This rocks. I love my job. So let me get all the other crap out of the way: “Elephant 6 offshoot” blah blah “Athens GA four-piece” yada yada “ugly-ass drab-as-hell cover art” yeah yeah “almost unreadable cheap-looking black and white lyric foldout” scooby dooby doo. Okay.
Listen: I was just as suspicious as you. I didn’t think I’d love this as much as I do. After all, it’s only like 36 minutes long, and a lot of it sounds like the shotgun marriage of early R.E.M. to all those garage bands on the Nuggets albums. But these are just some really kick-ass songs — well-made, heart-felt, and just about as smooth as peanut butter spread all over Naomi Campbell. Some of it is dancey power-pop: “Things That Should Not Be” pretty much defines “momentum,” and “The Everlasting Scream” is my favorite new T. Rex song. But then you have your slow intense waltzes like “The Modern Mind” and your janglefests like “Let the Serpent Sleep” and your fake-classic-rock masterpieces like “The Haze” and pretty soon you can’t get any of it out of your head for weeks.
It’s also a concept album in a way: just about every song is about the nasty things that sneak up on you when you’re not expecting them: creatures, serpents and/or snakes, the eyes of God, demons, ghosts, floods, fire. It’s all super-apocalyptic, but you won’t even know it, thanks to the chugging music.
The good thing about short albums is that you can play them more from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. This is one of those records.