For psychedelic cult popsters Elf Power, the 2009 suicide of singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt hit close to home physically (both share a hometown of Athens, Georgia) and emotionally (Chesnutt was a frequent collaborator and touring partner). It stands to reason that Elf Power's 2010 self-titled record, an unofficial tribute to Chesnutt, should be its most somber to date. But then again, the band has never really followed convention — and Elf Power is sunny, celebratory and earnest, with embraceable pop melodies coated by pupil-dilating atmospherics. The album neither revels in sadness nor pushes it aside, a sentiment in line with coconspirator Neutral Milk Hotel's legendary Anne Frank ode, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. It's life made more significant by the awareness of death.
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