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CD REVIEW: Elf Power - Elf Power
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/10/2010 - 12:48 AM EST

Artist: Elf Power
Album: Elf Power
Label: Orange Twin records
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, The Monkeys, R.E.M.
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Stranger in the Window, Like a Cannonball, The Concrete & the cannonball.
Weakness: A few songs feel like incomplete statements, Repetitive Catalogue Overall
CD Review:

Athens Georgia’s own Elf Power releases their latest CD entitled in 2010. The band has been around since 1994 & over the last 16 years has released over 10 CD’s. The brainchild of this music project is Andrew Rieger.   

Logging in at just over 37 minutes the CD kicks off with The Taking Under” a psychedelic rock groove against emotionally charged vocals, driving rock rhythm & well placed harmonies. Track 2 “Wander Through” shifts gears a bit with solid low end groove, with alternative rock musical flow coupled with hooky harmonies & impressive vocal accents from Rieger. Track 3 “Stranger in the Window” shifts gears with its slithering musical intro eventually lending itself into a pulsating rock groove meshed with an infectious melody that flows & ebbs its way through fruition. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 rock solid songs in a row. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock with an College Rock Indie feel to it that is captivating & Entertaining. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, The Monkeys with perhaps a dash of early R.E.M. Right from the start you will notice Rieger & company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice psychedelic, indie feel to it. Rieger’s guitar playing & s singing is rock solid across the board as he dishes out mesmerizing writing & lyrical content. Rieger’s voice goes down smooth & is full of passion, naked vulnerability & recklessness abandon. Also present are sporadic percussive elements, lush harmonies, impressive piano & well placed keyboard accents. Rieger’s got the voice & plays guitar well. If he just so happened to write all these songs – well that pretty much makes him a musical triple threat. The lyrical content is extremely creative & entertaining. No doubt some of the meanings of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content. The musicianship from all the other members (11 at last count) in the band is above the bar & has everything you would expect from a release of this genera. Rieger clearly makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with his singing. The songs themselves are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, & signature groove. From rocking “Goldmine in the Sun” to mesmerizing “Like a Cannonball” & “Boots of Lead” to hypnotic “Spider eggs” & Little Black Holes” to upbeat “Ghost of John” this CD pretty much has something for everyone. On a few tracks your can hear the brilliance of this band shine though like on – “The Concrete & the Walls” & Tiny Insects” The CD ends with “Little Hand” the perfect finale statement.

I fully realize this is a subjective art form, but a few of the songs just sound like incomplete statements to me. The mix is industry standard however there are times I wish the drums stood out more within the mix & had more bottom end punch to them – especially the kick drum. It’s fair to say the catalogue is a bit repetitive overall, especially with respect to the overall vocal delivery .   

Elf Power is a rock solid debut statement. Song for song, note for note its rock solid catalogue of music. It just has a nice feel good groove to it. It’s strong suit – the song for song rock solid consistency & amazing songwriting prowess of lead writer Andrew Rieger. Like the aforementioned he is a musical triple threat & should be considered a premier talent within the band. Let’s just hope his head doesn’t ever catch up with his talent is any time soon. If Elf Power has a slam dunk live presentation then that would make a pretty lethal combination. No doubt they are a lot of fun to check out live. So if you like college alternative rock that dishes out a mercerizing Alternative rock edge then you should jump into this CD head first. 

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