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Back to the Web

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Album Review

Elf Power's eighth record, Back to the Web, is certainly a big stylistic change from their last album, Walking with the Beggar Boys. Perhaps it's due to the time spent on the Orange Twin farm that lead singer and songwriter Andrew Rieger has been inspired to take a more organic, acoustic approach to his music, even ditching that lo-fi fuzzy sound that has defined many of Elf Power's records (maybe the move to new Warner affiliate Rykodisc precipitated this change) for a cleaner, smoother feel. Gone are the sweet indie pop/rock melodies everyone's learned to expect and instead come folky, acoustic guitar-driven songs. Rieger's dreamlike lyrics on Back to the Web are all heavily influenced by nature, and while Rieger's not always singing about it explicitly (though he can), nature is what he bases nearly all of his metaphors and imagery around. It acts as his solace, his guide; it provides structure; it's what creates and gives. Not that Rieger's environment is always a positive thing. "Rolling Black Water," for example, is a menacing and ominous song, conjuring up images of death and depression, but this is an exception: for the most part the natural world only aids in Rieger's comprehension of life. Though some Elf Power fans may be satisfied with the few songs that are reminiscent of the band's previous records ("The World Is Waiting," "23rd Dream") and the abstract, occasionally prog-like references to masters and kings, others may be disappointed, or at least confused, by the focus on experimenting with dark, Middle Eastern-inspired drones mixed with Western pop/folk sensibilities. But Elf Power — and Elephant 6, for that matter — have never concerned themselves too much with definitions, and if Back to the Web is just another step in the band's musical career and development, it certainly bodes well for an interesting future.

Customer Reviews

Nature never sounded so beautiful

This album is an amazing depiction of nature. Nature's light and dark sides. It's mysterious and beautiful always. The one two three punch that starts off this album with "come lie down with me" "an old familiar scene" and "rolling black water" draws you in immediately and songwriter Andrew Reiger successfully adds another amazing album to the elephant six music collection.

Hidden gem

Why haven't people checked this out? It's got some old REM to it, which is awesome. The entire album is a good listen...check it out! Especially like the first two songs and King on Earth.

simply brilliant

i can't believe i have missed this album until now. such a distinctive sound. i have not heard something so new and emotional since the walkabouts.


Formed: 1994 in Athens, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Athens, Georgia-based Elf Power emerged as part of the second wave of bands linked to the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of like-minded lo-fi indie groups -- including the Apples (In Stereo), Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Olivia Tremor Control -- who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. Formed by singers/multi-instrumentalists Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter, Elf Power debuted in 1995 with the self-released Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs, followed a year later by the...
Full Bio