Critic's Choice

Somewhere between the endearingly naive music of '70s cartoons like Josie and the Pussycats and early Velvet Underground recordings lies Elf Power, which appears Tuesday, May 28, at the 15th Street Tavern with Masters of the Hemisphere. The band, based in Athens, Georgia, is closely associated with the Elephant 6 collective, wherein musicians are swapped around as if they were contestants on a musical version of Temptation Island. (Olivia Tremor Control's W. Cullen Hart helped write "Three Seeds," a song on Elf Power's new disc Creatures, for instance.) The band has a knack for playing a certain fuzzy but sugar-frosted breed of song; the melodies anchor singer Andrew Reiger's wispy tenor vocals. Reiger's lackadaisical delivery of squirmingly neo-psychedelic verses is actually perfect: Elf Power's non sequiturs simply wouldn't work if it sounded as if he were taking them, or himself, too seriously. Enormously powerful drums and lively songs laced with distortion and up-tempo beats sometimes blur the line between lo-fi and pop punk on Creatures. Whatever you call it, after five albums the elves have mastered their own sound. Like the kooky downstairs neighbor on a sitcom, Elf Power is slightly chirpy, slightly prickly and odd -- but lovable.


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