Dark Developments: Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power

This album slipped past my radar for over a year (and I suspect the radar of many, since I always kept an eye on VC). I didn’t find it until I was searching out Flitter on Take Off online last Fall. I was actually kind of mad: how the hell did I miss that? But it didn’t make a huge splash – and I have no idea why.

The last few records Chesnutt made were a surge of brilliance (after a couple of duds in the 00’s with Silver Lake and Ghetto Bells and the second Brute record, Cobalt – the fault of all being overslick production, mostly). All of the knock-out final series were collaborations: two with the Montreal crew on Constellation Records – North Star Deserter and At the Cut; one with Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkin called Flitter on Take Off; and Dark Developments, with the Elephant 6 crew Elf Power.

All three collaborators had the gift of being able to play to Chesnutt’s nutty tempos, to accompany him like a good piano player accompanies a singer. The Elf Power collective also has the fine ability to bring out Chesnutt’s sense of humour. It’s a tasty record – poppier than the others, in a great way that harkens way back to the best moments of Is the Actor Happy?

Here’s a taste: go get this record.

Little Fucker

The Curious Case of the Bilocating Dog

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