Andrew Parks
April 09, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Once upon a time, Elf Power wrote about bogs and beasts. On Boys, the nature-gazing collective drops its Dungeons & Dragons manual and addresses earthly issues like love and the media. The music, meanwhile, is streamlined: Misty mountain pop written in the spirit of punk, the songs are short, with overlapping hooks and brash detours. What could have been a disastrous flight from fantasy is actually rather simple and satisfying.

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