The Winter Is Coming continues the darker, more complex sound Elf Power forged on its landmark album A Dream in Sound, enriching its brand of tripped-out pop with more emotional depth. Recorded over the course of nine months at the band's home studio, The Winter Is Coming seems mellow; however, melancholy and tense undercurrents lay just beneath its surface. Dense, droning songs like "Embrace the Crimson Tide" and "Wings of Light" are some of the best examples of the band's increasingly intricate sound, but "The Sun Is Forever," "Birds in the Backyard," and the title track prove that Elf Power hasn't sacrificed its catchiness for experimentalism's sake. Though the slightly silly bubblegum march "The Great Society" -- which almost sounds like an Elephant 6 parody -- seems out of place with the rest of the album's tone, the fuzzy-yet-brooding "Skeleton" more than makes up for it. Though it may not be quite as immediate or coherent as A Dream in Sound, The Winter Is Coming marks another step forward for this consistent -- and consistently evolving -- band.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares