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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Elf Power
Walking With The Beggar Boys
Orange Twin Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Subconsciously, we all want to see Elf Power flourish in leaps and bounds; those Athens, Georgia's cult favorites that could - and should. Like our second favorite TV show, we root in secrecy yet recommend to our dearest of friends. These manners, I'm afraid, are about to come to an end.

Their sixth studio release, Walking With The Beggar Boys, is chalk full of all things new: a new sound, a new style, and new members yet familiar faces in Eric Harris (Oliva Tremor Control) and Craig McQuiston (The Glands). Change is almost always necessary, but as it's such a crucial procedure it has to be carried out subtly; over the course of one bands discography you should see it coming. Frankly, not only did I see this coming, I anticipated the let down.

I grew fond of those flutes and organs, those unpredictable 70s psych-rock ballads that were showcased on past albums; every instrument was its own, front and center. None of their music was ever close to being record-setting, ground breaking, or whatever pre-pedestal phrase you'd prefer to insert, but it reminded you of music that was: The Byrds!. Not to focus too much attention on song titles, but one could almost hear the disappointment by reading them; what used to be "Let the Serpent Sleep" or "Simon (The Bird With the Candy Bar Head)", is now "Empty Pictures" and "Big Thing". There's an intriguing correlation here that stands out as a portrait of aforementioned change.

The first track, "Never Believe", also the first single off the album, sounds too much like commercial radio pop; jaws will drop as you curiously ponder whatever happened to Weezer. The title track, a story about meeting up with a group of beggar children in Warsaw, has a southern tone and a semi-reminiscent chorus, but leaves me asking myself two important questions: At what spectrum has Elf Power's imagination vacationed to? And will it ever return? I fear I already know the answers.

With surefire lyrics and its overall straightforwardness, Elf Power did the last thing we'd ever expect from them: make a predictable pop record. It seems that with all the changes the band has made, they no longer have any room or any intentions on challenging themselves; no more rolling of the dice.

I will say this though: album after album, this band was encouraged to seek a different route, to take the high road - after all, nobody wants to listen to psych-rock songs that can't be interpreted, right? When they finally do take the high road, they sadly make a wrong turn. Critics and fans alike could be held at blame for not letting the band be.

However, different routes can be explored, but its best to travel with familiar backdrops. Walking With The Beggar Boys is a detachment of its former self in every way possible. I applaud Elf Power's courageousness in doing what was asked of them all along, but this album sadly proves you should follow the road that got you where you are. Truthfully, another album about serpents would have been a delight.

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