CD Where the Messengers Meet * (CD 6967190),
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Where the Messengers Meet *

  • 1. At Night
    2. Leaving Trails
    3. Roof, The
    4. Hurrah
    5. Not to Know
    6. You Were/I Was
    7. Gone Again
    8. Bitter Cold
    9. In a Hole
    10. Cadence
    11. Messengers
    12. George Clark
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): DOC041

  • Credits
    ProducerMt. St. Helens Vietnam Band; Jonathan Warman
    EngineerJonathan Warman

    The 2009 self-titled debut by Seattle's Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, was an attractive, if nowhere near completely realized, shambolic intro to a talented group of musicians. On it, they proved they could mine rock & roll's many tropes -- from Lieber & Stoller and Chuck Berry to psych, glam, and indie rock -- paste them together at odd but charming angles, call them original songs, and pull something like an album off -- even if their marketing abilities exceeded their musical ones.Their sophomore effort, Where the Messengers Meet, finds the quartet -- Benjamin Verdoes, Jared Price, Traci Eggelston-Verdoes, and Marshall Verdoes along with friends and guests -- a bit more focused if less ambitious. In other words, you've heard everything here before, as MSHVB reference indie rock acts such as Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade, and Arcade Fire, to name a few. Album opener "At Night" cops a Dead Weather riff -- but it's OK, DW combined stolen ones from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix -- but moves the track in a dramatic direction as Benjamin Verdoes' voice (strangely reminiscent of a young Marc Bolan's) adds tension and pathos to the web of guitars, Farfisa organs, big distorted bass drums, and a rudimentary bassline. "Leaving Trails" leads a similar formula toward a more sprawling conclusion, with multi-layered backing vocals becoming every bit as insistent as the lead guitar line that propels it all forward. Three tracks from the album's center feature cello and string arrangements by Sam Anderson: "Not to Know," "You Were/I Was," and "Bitter Cold" all employ interesting, playful textures. Each has its own complex weave of lyric lines and melodies that seem to move in different directions rhythmically and harmonically. "In a Hole" begins minimally before letting the guitars and drums push the cut into the red with only B. Verdoes' vocal climbing above the morass. Ultimately, MSHVB have plenty of their own ideas in spite of direct cops from other indie phenoms. If anything, Where the Messengers Meet is an easily measurable improvement over their debut. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Critic Reviews
    Alternative Press (p.113) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[C]arnival-of-souls organ, heart-of-darkness strings and deep-space synths add a new symphonic grandness..."
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