Saturday, October 25, 2008

Elf Power - The Winter Hawk EP

(Kindercore, 1996)

Elf Power is generally less given to whimsy than other Elephant 6 bands, and over the years they’ve developed into the most “professional,” straight-sounding rock group of the bunch. This early single – their first – is a nice reminder of rawer days, when Rieger and pals were turning out bedroom psychedelia that ranged from folksy (“The Winter Hawk”) to droning (“Heroes and Insects”) to acid-damaged (“Exalted Exit Wound”). The savvy arrangements, incorporating violin, flute, accordion, and Moog, give the record an expansive sound that, overall, isn’t too far from what the similarly-ambitious (though less sober) Olivia Tremor Control was doing on its first few 7”s. The streamlined Elf Power of later years is a fine thing, but these songs have a baby’s-first-steps charm that has since been lost.

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