MV & EE
Release Date: May 15, 12
MV & EE, the Virginia-based duo, has produced a ream of albums since the early 00s and haven’t come close to losing their trippy, magical touch. And for as many records, the band has had nearly the same amount of contributing members. On their latest effort, Matt Valentine and Erica Elder expand their genre-sprawling sound.
A few years ago when psychedelic-country or indie-folk music was getting popular, MV & EE were a big part of the conversation. And for good reason. Their talent surpasses many of their contemporaries and is some of the most unforced music a band could make. Better yet, they make it sound easy. Same hold true on Space Homestead, MV & EE’s latest album.
Three tracks in, the echoey ramble of “Sweet Sure Gone” feels like a comfortable mid-point of an album, but is only just beginning. It’s similar of entering a room of strangers and suddenly adapting and communicating. The summery vibe throughout the track flows right into “Shit’s Creek,” a song that weeps, but slow dances into harmonica and acoustic guitar. The lyrics could be sad, but they are at peace. The tone and atmospheric quality of Space Homestead is most defined on “Common Ground.” It lazily flourishes through “tell-tell” lyrics, spiraling effects which are almost visual in the way they are composed of warps and bubbles. There’s something almost subterranean to the sound, which becomes subtly enriched as the song progresses. And the same could be said for the majority of the tracks.
Then there are interludes with short songs such as “Moment,” which are hypnotic little daydreams where one can get lost if the songs weren’t so succinct. Just when MV & EE walk the fine line of all the songs sounding the same and all their sound on every song, in plays ‘Too Far To See.” It begins echoey and trippy enough, but one of the sickest guitar solos this side of 2010 shreds the song to pieces. In an age of everything electric and difficult, super fast, disposable, regenerated, it is very pleasing to once again hear a pure guitar solo.
However, “Wasteland” begins and the question begs, “Wait? Didn’t this song play fifteen minutes ago?” There’s nothing fancy about its laziness and the matter-of-fact lyrics add no new perspective to being wasted again. Though lo and behold, here comes another guitar solo. But because it doesn’t catch by surprise as the previous, it doesn’t quite save the song as a whole. “Porchlight” is the longest, final, and best song on Space Homestead. Introducing itself with cymbal chatter and a washed over lyrical rant by Erica Elder, “Porchlight” progresses into all types of controlled chaos, not ever erupting, so much as each piece of the composition finding its position through a jazzy corridor until crossing over to a searing harmonica and acoustic guitar. Here, the lyrics and Valentine’s voice effects are most settled.