Elf Power

In a Cave
(Ryko)

Call 'em retro, sans cheesy affectation for 1960s pop/folk-rock classicists, but don't call 'em late for dinner — Elf Power is back with another in a series of classy, winsomely tuneful albums wherein engaging melodies and sweet harmoniousness unquestionably rule. Elf Power is an offspring of pre-White Album Beatles, Searchers, and flower-power era Donovan, and a cousin to Ladybug Transistor, Belle & Sebastian, and Apples In Stereo. However, In a Cave finds new hues on Elf Power's palette — the surreal, choppy dissonance of "Owl Cut" evokes the poppier portions of Brian Eno's debut, Here Come the Warm Jets. The peppy, fuzz-laden "Spiral Stairs" sounds like a cross between Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" and fairyland-folk/pre-glitter era T. Rex. Alas, there's a brief misstep — the everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink "Heads of Dust, Hearts of Lust" recalls the arty indulgences bands used to engage in to prove how "progressive" they were in the wake of Sgt. Pepper. But the closer, "Midnight Crawls Out," is redemption squared — its soothing vibe and crystalline guitar mini-solos make this Elf Power's own "Here Comes the Sun." Fans won't be disappointed, and Cave may snare some new ones.

 
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