Four of the eleven tracks on the latest release by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, actually their debut full-length, are not exclusives. These four can also be found on their Weepy EP and include opener “Who’s Asking”, “Cheer For Fate”, “Anchors Dropped” and “Dull Reason”. But, to be honest, I could care less. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band is a phenomenal release worthy of as much esteem as the whole world can muster.
Like the tracks off Weepy EP, the seven exclusives are filled with edgy, gritty rock in the vein of Wolf Parade and Tapes ‘N Tapes. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, however, makes the sound their own with, for example, forays into romantic waltz breakdowns as found in “Masquerade”. They include clever plays on time throughout the song and throughout the album. It’s obvious that there is skill here, and that the skill is bristling to burst forth – it is a trait the band possesses that, oddly enough, this band has barely tapped.
Skill. It’s bountiful here; check out the percussion in “Going On A Hunt” and listen how the band transitions and transforms from that song to the ballad-worthy first half to “A Year Or Two”. And the harmonies! You’ll be hard-pressed to find these abilities in either of the aforementioned contemporaries’ debuts. Sure, they may have come close, but… wow. It’s enough to leave you speechless.
If you thought Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band prooved themselves on Weepy EP, you haven’t heard anything yet. The iceberg has been tapped and as it melts, out pours skill that grows more and more impressive as the album commences. Keep an eye on this band, folks – there’s something special here that simply cannot be ignored!
Dead Oceans [CD, 2009]
1. Who’s Asking
3. Cheer For Fate
4. Anchors Dropped
5. Going On A Hunt
6. A Year Or Two
7. Albatross, Albatross, Albatross
8. Dull Reason
9. Little Red Shoes
10. En Fuego
11. On The Collar