On April 24th, Elf Power return with their Rykodisc debut, Back to the Web, a haunting, twisting journey weaving its way through heavy psychedelic haze, to soulful, melodic folk, to stomping T Rex-styled rock. Back to the Web is full of the band's signature, lovely pop melodies, but a distinct progression is evident in the songwriting and the lush, full production. The folkier tunes are laced with strings and the heavier ones scream psychedelia; influences of Bob Dylan and Wall-era Pink Floyd can be detected. Singer/songwriter Andrew Rieger comments, "I was listening to a lot of middle eastern folk and gypsy music when I started writing these songs and I tried to emulate some of those sounds by combining 12 string acoustic guitar with violin and accordion. Our last album was more of a straight ahead rock record, so in reaction this one came out as more of a dark, orchestrated folk rock album." Formed in Athens, GA in 1994, Elf Power was spawned from the legendary Elephant 6 collective that also produced Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal and Apples In Stereo. The band has spent the past twelve years making albums and touring the globe, sharing bills with the likes of R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr., Wilco and Guided By Voices.
Since 1994, this Athens, GA-based act have been one of the most misunderstood rock bands in the U.S. Far more straight-ahead musically while lyrically interested in singing about gnomes and wizards (unironically), they didn't necessarily fit in so well with their more out-there Elephant Six contemporaries. And while they definitely had a strong taste for fuzzy pop recorded on the fly and inexpensively, they really were never much of a lo-fi band, either. On their eighth album, while the rest of the indie scene can't get enough of long-haired troubadours with mystical leanings, Elf Power deliver a crisply recorded and vaguely medieval set of songs with nary a Tolkeinist element in sight. Vocalist Andrew Reiger's songs have never been this folksy and ruminative. It might take a few listens before the full weight of this album kicks in, but it's worth your time as this just might be their most rewarding album. --Mike McGonigal