Dark Developments | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power and the Amorphous Strums

Dark Developments

Orange Twin

Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

Dark Developments brings together Athens, Georgia musicians Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power in one of the most intriguing collaborations of the year. Singer/songwriter Chesnutt is of course no stranger to collaboration, having worked with artists such as Lambchop, Bill Frisell, and Cowboy Junkies since the early ’90s, while psych-pop veterans Elf Power released their latest album, In The Cave, earlier in 2008.

Dark Developments was recorded over the course of a winter in Chesnutt’s attic and marries his characteristically elliptical, darkly humorous songwriting with the dextrous musicianship of his fellow Athenians: rarely has either sounded better.

Crisp electric guitar lines—often reminiscent of Richard Thompson in his pomp—weave beautifully around one another, underpinned by Bryan Helium’s muscular bass, especially on songs such as “We Are Mean” and “Little Fucker” (a murky, profane mesh of Them’s “Gloria” and The White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid”). The black humour of “Bilocating Dog” spills onto the epic “Phil the Fiddler,” the latter building to a wonderful 2-minute instrumental work-out.

Like all successful collaborations, Dark Developments plays beautifully to the strengths of both parties. The symbiotic interplay of Chesnutt and Elf Power suggests we may not have seen the last of this particular Athens reunion. (www.vicchesnutt.com, www.elfpower.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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