If Eckhart Tolle were to listen to Elf Power’s In a Cave, he’d probably like it. Sure, an album might be a material thing to be wasted on someone so seemingly self-actualized and above consumerism, but that just means more from New York’s Rykodisc for the rest of us.
Everybody needs to dream a little now and then, and vocalist Andrew Rieger’s tenor is going to perfectly guide some meditations through song Saturday night at the Mink’s Back Room.
Whether stressed out, hangin’ out, feeling drained of creativity and needing inspiration or just wanting something to take you somewhere else for a brief minute, the Elves are up for the chance to provide a remedy, and that’s why this performance is sure to be a wonderful opportunity to engage in some good ol’ social escapism via psych-pop.
It’s not escapism in any sort of negative fashion; it’s very "present," as fans of Eckhart would say. But to be present Saturday would mean to be taken up "Spiral Stairs," then lead gently and "Softly Through the Void," to catch a glimpse through the "Window to Mars," only to "Quiver and Quake" with "Heads of Dust, Hearts with Lust," as the "Midnight Crawls Out."
Sure, it’s material, but music is immaterial when it takes your mind on a journey the way In a Cave does. Through its lineage, the Elves take you someplace else, but not just someplace else, someplace in your own mind. It’s like they open up a pair of parallel-universe eyes and trace the view. That is the introspectiveness of this album’s nature. It’s not pretentious or forced. It’s like a comfortable conversation with a stranger. You could make contact or shy away, but you’ll always look right back.
Between rainclouds and twisting paths, the poetic, dreamlike energy is amazing on this record. One reason it stands out from the band’s predecessors (including eight full-lengths and a couple EPs spanning more than a decade) is Eric Harris’ contribution to the effort.
For the first time in Elf Power’s history, the drummer and multi-instrumentalist (formerly of Olivia Tremor Control) co-wrote many of the tracks with Rieger, who has historically written the band’s material on his own.
"Those songs turned out really amazing and really different from anything Elf Power has ever done before," Rieger told the Austinist in a February interview.
The collaboration paid off immensely, as In a Cave took the cake for a time last month as CMJ radio’s most played album before it was even officially released.
This is fantastic news for the band’s enchanted fans, a substantial following that no doubt has significantly grown since Elf Power’s formation in 1994. Adding to the fact that the Elves have been busy writing, recording, and touring the world for the last 14 years, the members of the Elephant Six Collective are also known for owning and operating Orange Twin Records, an indie label that has released works by E6-cofounders Neutral Milk Hotel, as well as the Gerbils.
A portion of Orange Twin’s profits benefit the Orange Twin Conservation Community, home to more than 150 acres of land outside Athens, Ga. designated for environmentally conscious development as well as ecological conservation.
In celebration of Rykodisc’s 25th birthday this year, the label is offering five free downloads online on the 25th of every month for 2008. This means Friday would be a great time to check out Elf Power before the show. For details, visit Rykodisc.com, then call (713) 522-9985 or visit www.themink.org for more info on this weekend’s most happenin’ event.
Doors open at 8 p.m., tickets are $10.