by Myles Dunhill (@MylesDunhill)
Beginning a review by mentioning the Elephant 6 Collective would seem totally unfair to a band at this point. Though it was the music scene from which Elf Power once belonged to some years ago, its tag still haunts its past roster like a looming shadow. Needless to say, multi-instrumentalist of Elf Power, Laura Carter, has since started her own label, Orange Twin, which is also the name of the commune she helped co-found with a few other names that were once staples of the Athens music scene. So, ten years after Orange Twin’s formation it is with a gracious welcome do we have bestowed upon us Elf Power’s latest, and thirteenth studio album, Twitching in Time.
Opening the record with a very somber and downtrodden tone, "Halloween Out Walking," is the band sounding like a reflection of our current political times; too depressed to get out of bed but willing to spend one more day giving it another go-around. However, this is all just a short rug-pull as everything gets jolted out of slumber when follow-up, "Ten Dollars on the Ground," stabilizes the true vibe of Twitching in Time. There are actually a plethora of punchy tracks showing the band in prime form; their perfect balance of driving tempos and tuneful craftsmanship on full display. One of Elf Power’s strongest qualities, and one of the most apparent on this album, is the group’s ability to embody different styles of music while maintaining their essence through cohesive songwriting.
When Elf Power adds a hint of southern twang on tracks like "The Cat Trapped in the Wall" or the contemplative "Too Many Things in My Hands," the outcome is wholly comforting and paints visual images of tumbleweeds and starry nights. Full-on guitar squealers like "Sniper in the Balcony" and the blissful ending of "Watery Shreds" fill in the record with fun pockets of confetti bursting from popped balloons. The compositions are not stuck in time but instead appear ageless like on the acoustic dusk-rider "Withered Husk," as the album finally throws us back into a hopeless but brave future with the closer, "Gorging on the Feast."
Fans of Elf Power are going to find plenty to enjoy as a band should sound fairly confident in themselves after releasing twelve records previously. For a band whose sound was never defined by the Elephant 6’s unabashed love of all things ‘60s, they sound here like they’ve never aged, frozen in time but not defined by it. These are signs of a band never straying too far from familiar territory but always willing to make the frequent sacrifice to satisfy an ever-growing sound palette in addition to absorbing the ripples of the grim reality we all find ourselves trying to make sense of every day. Even in the face of change, Elf Power have proven themselves timeless.