"The Demon's Daughter" by Elf Power
Andrew Rieger's psychedelic-pop combo Elf Power coalesced as part of the Elephant 6 collective in Athens, Georgia, which also included Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and The Apples In Stereo. Elf Power is still intimately connected to the local scene, co-running the Orange Twin label and recording with fellow Athenian Vic Chesnutt. In A Cave, the band's ninth full-length, includes four songs co-written with guitarist Eric Harris, formerly of Olivia Tremor Control, but the driving force on the album is still Rieger, whose penchant for gentle, Tolkien-esque lyrical imagery remains in full force. Fans of earlier work will find In A Cave as comfortable as a favorite old sweater, and that pleasantly familiar feel is also Cave's biggest weakness. It's full of charming, offbeat folk-pop, with a high point in "The Demon's Daughter," a melancholy ballad of love and remembrance. But Cave also lacks the creative diversity that made 2006's superior Back To The Web so memorable, and it suffers from repetition. Cave feels like a group that's comfortably going in circles, not finding a fresh way to do what it's already done.