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A Dream In Sound

A Dream In Sound

10 Aug 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 28 April 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is an album that truly lives up to its name! The songs are diverse, ranging from bright and catchy ("High Atop the Silver Branches") to deep and reflective ("Willowy Man"). The whole album shimmers with psychedelia, thanks to the work of Dave Fridmann (who produced the record) and the collaboration with Elephant 6 heavyweights such as Jeff Magnum and Scott Spillane. Simple but very effective melodies, sung in a high, mournful voice, add real warmth to the record. The lyrics are clever, working on two different levels - while they are surreal and childlike on the surface, they are also deep and emotionally complex. Although the album is great played out loud, there are certain moments that are truly breath-taking on headphones. If you are into the Elephant 6 collective and Flaming Lips-style psychedelic pop, this CD is essential.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The sound of this record is somewhere between the style of The Delgados / Flaming Lips / Mercury Rev (not overly surprising since Dave Fridmann produced this record) and the lighter moments of Olivia Tremor Control. There is a Kinks-like whimsy to certain tracks, which sometimes works and sometimes annoys. Vocally, the singer sounds very similar to Wayne Coyne, with a similarly limited vocal range (which you will either love or hate), and the record benefits from a very clear production (unlike many other Elephant 6 records - though perhaps that is the charm of those). Overall an easy record to listen to, but in my view slightly lacking the depth of either the Elephant 6 "royalty" (OTC, NMH) or the other Dave Fridmann produced bands. Overall, I would give this 3.5 stars. If you enjoy any of the bands above, this is definitely worth a try. If you don't own any records by the above, I would suggest buying the following ahead of this: The Great Eastern (Delgados), The Soft Bulletin (Flaming Lips), Deserters Songs (Mercury Rev), Black Foliage (OTC).
Note there are a lot more reviews on amazon.com (reflecting Elf Power's relative obscurity in the UK), suggest you also read these before making up your mind!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great music 7 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album is produced in a much cleaner more conventional way then "when the red king comes." It really works though and the songs are so well written that they thrive under the microscope as we can hear most every wonderful lyric. Both albums so superb in different ways... There is a definite glow to this album. I just saw these guys at the 40watt here in Athens and it was one of the best shows i've ever seen. The band is super nice and friendly... and their music is very one-of-a-kind and beautiful. So, go out and buy all the albums and see them when they come around your area. I really like the song "jane" on this album.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elves Over Ewoks: The Toppling of an Empire 15 Jan. 2002
By j. cody gorman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First, a preamble: I remember the day that I bought this record quite well. May 19, 1999. Now I don't normally make a habit of remembering the exact date I purchase records. However, this instance is burned into my psyche by the coincidence that it was the same day that "Stars Wars: The Phantom Menace" was released. We had tickets for the 3:00 A.M. showing and obviously plenty of time to kill waiting in line. With this in mind, a friend and I headed down to the local record bizarre. I was already into the whole Elephant 6 thing but at this point there wasn't a whole lot to choose from besides the big 3. I was anxious to get some new records by the collective and the name Elf Power appealed to the Middle Earth in me.
Anyway, there is a point to all this. While the arch of my story could stretch ad naseum into the disappointment I felt when I watched the movie or the fact that I drank way too much in the parking lot and threw an empty beer bottle across a SRO theatre, I'll spare you. My point is this: While the release of the first new Star Wars movie in nearly 20 years should have been the cultural windfall that has stayed with me since May 19, 2001 it was, in actuality, this inocuous little record out of Athens, Georgia that has left its indelible imprint on me. What a fantastic record this is! Enough good things cannot be said of Elf Power or their producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips)on this go `round. While their previous effort had some truly outstanding moments, "A Dream in Sound" is where it all comes together: the whimsical Neil Young-on-helium falsetto of Andrew Reiger, the T. Rex meets Robyn Hitchcock absuridty of the lyrical and musical hooks. This record has everything a fan of psychedelia appreciates. Honorable mention goes to the song "Jane", nothing short of one of the most beautiful songs that has ever graced my life.
I am left pondering the existence of a benign Force in the Universe. I am left to mull over the scattered remnants of a Rebel youth apparently dead within me. But moreover, somewhere in a galaxy not so far away, I hear the strangled singing of bird. His name is Simon. And apparently he has a candy bar for a head. And I will sleep secure that all is well in my star sytem. At least for tonight.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Auio Companion to the Seven Dwarfs 6 Sept. 2002
By reymundo helms - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I rushed home to play my new CD (a birthday gift purchased from Amazon.com) but my bratty kids had a fit. We have just one DVD/CD player hooked to the home stereo system, and my little monsters had their hearts set on watching "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". We compromised by watching the movie to the sounds of "Elf Power". Life has never been the same since. This imaginative, creative masterpiece spins Snow and the boys into a frightening, psychedelic direction. It's pop music with dreamy yet distinct analytical lyrics about galaxies and creation, and the beginning of the universe. The bands fifth album sheds its Disneylike image, and seems to transform into more of a Grimm's Fairy Tale. With song titles like "Everlasting Scream" and "Unseen Hand", our family is certain to be blasting Halloween trick or treaters with "Creature' as they approach the front door.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock at its finest 26 Feb. 2001
By Jon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Although its place in the genre of 'rock' is questionable, A Dream in Sound, along with The Winter is Coming and When The Red King Comes, is undoubtedly among the finest albums made recently, or ever. Combining skillful yet subtle instrumentals with enticing vocals, Elf Power is modern music at its best. I cannot speak highly enough about the album or the band.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dream in sound 22 Sept. 2004
By EA Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
No, it's not the kind of elf power that we saw in "Lord of the Rings," with the rings and the river and so on. It's one of those deliciously weird names that Elephant 6 bands frequently use. And in "A Dream in Sound," Elf Power magicks up a sweet, vaguely psychedelic batch of catchy pop tunes.

Expect to be hooked in by "Will My Feet Still Carry Me Home," a catchy, light little tune, because then it's off into the even catchier "High Atop The Silver Branches," a wistful yet bouncy melody, and the rollickingly staccato title track. This tendency peaks with "Simon (The Bird With The Candy Bar Head)," which is augmented by playful horns and birds twittering.

But don't expect Elf Power to be all brightness and fun. "Willowy Man" establishes a handful of aching, bittersweet ballads, like the melancholy "Jane." And "Carnival" is pure fun -- horns, sparkling twitters and fast drums establish a wonderful circus atmosphere, before dying out with a horn blat into the psychedelic-rocker "The Well."

Okay, who could resist checking out a band with a name like Elf Power? They don't measure up to sister band Neutral Milk Hotel, as few other Elephant 6 bands can. But taken alone, Elf Power is refreshingly fun, catchy, and has the talents of other Elephant 6 alums like Jeff Mangum to give it some extra flavor.

Their sound is more like Britpop, and less like the eerily strange creations of their sister bands. Instead of sounding surreal, they opt for catchiness. They start off with the obvious guitars and percussion, but also use lots of organs, horns, distortion and weird sound effects to make it sound just a little psychedelic.

Andrew Rieger's vocals are not stellar, but his airy lilts are somehow soothing, trying out the singsongy approach in "Will My Feet Still Carry Me Home," then murmuring in counterpoint to Laura Carter's even more lovely vocals. The songwriting isn't too amazing -- at one point, Rieger actually sings "tra la la!" -- but it's pleasant enough. "It took a thousand light years/for you to trip down into my eye..."

Elf Power has a power all its own. Don't compare it to its more highly-regarded siblings. Instead, appreciate it for its beautiful, catchy, and thoroughly addictive pop melodies in "A Dream in Sound."
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