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When the Red King Comes

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Album Review

As the Elephant 6 catalog continues to expand, it becomes increasingly obvious that many of the label's bands are concerned not merely with creating fresh and exciting music but rather entire mythologies, crafting obscure concept records exploring the intricacies of strange pocket universes. Existing in the musical gray area between Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel — both of whose members make cameos here — Elf Power's superb When the Red King Comes is a heady journey to a psychedelic utopia, a travelogue with such destinations as "The Secret Ocean," "The Separating Fault," and "The Silver Lake." As imagined primarily by singer/songwriter Andrew Rieger, the album is a odyssey "Into the Everlasting Time," and true to its word, it seems to exist outside of any obvious era — the fuzzy, lo-fi production is an Elephant 6 hallmark, but the unique instrumentation (electric horns, pump organs, even Nepalese percussion) and cryptic, stream-of-consciousness wordplay suggest something altogether different; perhaps most telling is When the Red King Comes' cover, a crazed map suggesting something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien fever dream.

Customer Reviews

One of the Best Albums Ever

Seriously. Their music is brilliantly innovative, creative, peaceful, and just utterly beautiful. I also recommend searching for Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs, except watch for the first song of that album...Anyways, Elf Power is entirely underrated and this work, their earlier work, is obviously more raw yet more genuine and eternally tranquil with the bits of fun [Introducing Comic Space for example]

They are my new favourite band.

I found out about this band after looking around the Elephant 6 website (which housed Neutral Milk Hotel/ Jeff Mangum) and decided to try one song - The Arrow Flies Close. I bought the whole album after, and it's been on repeat for two weeks now. It's a little bit spacey and out-there like Of Montreal, but I like this band much better. There's more guitar and softer songs. Very addicting.

This album takes you on a journey... and I quote the inside of the CD case

Let me tell you about the Red King's Kingdom, it's a place where you can be happy, a place to live freely, a place where you can be anything you want to be...picture an island of intense beauty on which a magnificant castle is surrounded by sprawling villages, dense forests, and golden meadows. A place where the systems of roads and trenches which connect the castle and villages are very practical, vegetables and fruit trees grow freely and the animals and humans mix together in a peaceful manner. "So how do I get there?" you may be asking yourself. It's easy. As the music starts just close your eyes and follow the sound of the soothing horns that tempt you to the other side. If you listen closely you can hear the door creaking open, then just let go and "Step Through the Portal...Into Everlasting Time." As you wander about, exploring the island you will occasionally encounter...


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
When the Red King Comes, Elf Power
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