Elf Power: A Dream In Sound

Elf Power: A Dream In Sound

On A Dream In Sound, Elf Power—a peripheral member of Elephant 6, the mutual-admiration society and record label primarily composed of The Apples In Stereo, The Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel—has crafted an album that captures the best elements of psychedelic pop while downplaying the genre's more lamentable tendencies. Even when the words don't quite make sense and the sound turns spacey, the band knows how to keep its sound planted on earth. Downplaying the Tolkien-esque concept-album touches of its 1997 predecessor (the winning When The Red King Comes) in favor of more straightforward songcraft, A Dream In Sound finds Elf Power creating densely textured music that's as accessible as it can be. "High Atop The Silver Branches" proves so catchy that its whistling and almost militant drumming nearly pass unnoticed, while the barroom sing-along quality of "Noble Experiment" makes such lines as, "time has come now to stop being human / time to find a new creature to be" sound as far from bizarre as the words to "The Yellow Rose Of Texas." Elsewhere, "Simon (The Bird With The Candy Bar Head)" resembles a collaboration between Guided By Voices and Robyn Hitchcock, while other tracks, particularly the lovely "O What A Beautiful Dream," demonstrate Elf Power's deft way with slower numbers. It all helps make A Dream In Sound an excellent entry into what's shaping up to be a wonderfully eccentric career.

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