Psychedelic couple Matt Valentine and Erika Elder make up MV & EE. Together they blur their guitars together to make a rather free-form slice of New Weird America. 'Alpha Lyrae' has shades of acts like the No Neck Blues band, created from a cacophony of folk and noise that rarely becomes clear, though it's sometimes laid back and easier on the ear. It's folk rock in its traditional form, in one way: it rambles. This is the first ever LP release for Child Of Microtones.
9/10 Brian Staff review, 12 September 2014
Not personally checked out an album by this couple for a long, long time. I only ever invested in one record by them and that was because rising North Eastern champion of the early music Richard Dawson was such a nice guy I could not leave the shop he was working in at the time without buying something. You know what it's like when you visit record shops but work in one too. You can never ever make a decision. Busman's holiday I think they call it?
'Alpha Lyrae' is utterly sublime from the word go. Less hesitant and dissonant than some of their earlier outings and occasionally more in line with the intimate sleepy fuzz-rock direction some later releases suggested. Proceeding with some gorgeous chiming acoustic interplay, yearning distant slide and intimate vocal harmonising with the most subtle smattering of disembodied wah-wah entering the mix, 'You' and 'Starchild' combine to make the most lovely opening salvo to a record I did hear this week.
Their voices sound almost ghostly on this album with this strange eerie echo and reverb to them. Musically it's as psychedelic as you could expect from these two hippy dippy space faces, if not stranger than ever. 'Roll On>' is a rather hazy number that ultimately steals New Order's drum machine from way back in 1981 and runs off with it cackling and wheezing. It's amazing how well this subtle cyclic rhythm goes with all the mesmerising guitar drones and picked notes, lolling all over the shop making you feel more stoned than you'd feel if you were actually, like, really stoned.
'Mayan Feedback' is the "rockist" track here, albeit a murky lo-fi one. It's all about the drones man. Sludgy distortion and furry feedback over a driving yet weirdly displaced mototrik folk-rock vibe. For all the lovely enveloping noise it's somehow retains this intimate campfire jam feel with tambourine and wispy vocals circling the beautifully muddied chaos ending with sitar drones and maybe a trace of tabla if my ears aren't deceiving me. That bloody drum machine is still going off in the barn as the song ends.
'Boo Woe' kinda recalls early Mercury Rev and a really mellow Flaming Lips, all slow drums and warm, drowsy acoustic shimmer with some thoroughly delightful flights of fretboard fancy. Get your bong out, this album is a divine collection of dangerously horizontal vibes and delicious fuzzy trails of adorable noise from a pair of genuine lysergic folk geniuses. One of the most satisfying releases by MV + EE this man has had the pleasure to hear.
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- Alpha Lyrae by MV & EE
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