Somewhere between the endearingly naive music of such '70s cartoons as Josie and the Pussycats and the early Velvet Underground recordings lies Elf Power. The Athens, Georgia band is closely associated with the Elephant 6 collective -- in which musicians are swapped around as if they were contestants on a musical version of Temptation Island -- and has a knack for playing a certain fuzzy but sugar-frosted breed of song. The melodies anchor singer Andrew Reiger's wispy tenor vocals, and his lackadaisical delivery of squirmingly neo-psychedelic verses is actually perfect: Elf Power's non sequiturs simply wouldn't work if it sounded as if he were taking them, or himself, too seriously.
Enormously powerful drums and lively songs laced with distortion and up-tempo beats sometimes blur the line between lo-fi and pop punk on the band's last studio effort, Creatures. Whatever you call it, after five albums -- and a recently released covers disc -- the elves have mastered their own sound. Like the kooky downstairs neighbor on a TV sitcom, Elf Power is slightly chirpy, slightly prickly, and odd -- but lovable.