Album Reviews

Point Juncture WA: Heart to Elk [Album Review]

Point Juncture WA

Point Juncture WA chose a fine time to start knocking the cover off of the ball. Their third record, Heart to Elk, has been picked up by Seattle label Mt. Fuji Records and was given wide release in February. Seattle indie radio behemoth KEXP has been wearing down the grooves of Heart to Elk for months. The band is now preparing for a national tour in support of fellow Portlanders The Thermals and the Shaky Hands, to be capped triumphantly by their first Sasquatch gig in May. Their plan for world domination may yet come to fruition.

Heart to Elk is the band’s most cohesive statement to date, infused with joy and delight. It incorporates their love of the precision space groove of bands like Broadcast and Stereolab with the textural gradiations of Yo La Tengo and some catchy damned tunes. It is a pleasure to hear Amanda Spring’s vocals float over her own skittering traps, or to hear Victor Nash provide the masculine counterpoint in PJWA’s boy-girl dichotomy. The third track, “New Machine,” would have fit perfectly on Electr-o-Pura, and I’ll be jiggered if Nash doesn’t kill me every time I hear him coyly deliver the line: So what’s this shit about / your mom says you’re all tuckered out/ is that some kind of answer / for me and for you?

“Sioux Arrow” features an appreciation for meticulousness in arrangement and harmonies that Krautrockers would envy, but it would all be wasted if the song were not so compelling. The shaker, trumpet and nylon string guitar that begin “Kings Part II” portend the groovy, woozy ditty that follows. “Fleet and Small” sounds like avian instructions beamed across the globe to assist migratory patterns. Guitarist Wilson Vediner provides the rock basis for the band, and his delectable fingerprints mark every song on the record.

It’s not an accident that they sound like a producer’s band, with PDX wunderkind Skyler Norwood playing in the band and assisting in the knob twiddling, and lots of Portland’s finest helping to lay down or engineer the tracks. The result is no case of too many cooks in the kitchen; the recording is impeccable. Point Juncture WA effortlessly meld horns, vibes, and drum machines with the elements of classic indie rock. Their music is tidal, with an oceanic ebb and flow that becomes mesmerizing when interlocking patterns click. It is a sweet, beguiling sound that you want to like; luckily, PJWA makes it all so easy to dig.

Point Juncture WA: Melon Bird [mp3]

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Heart To Elk by Point Juncture WA

Mt. Fuji Records [CD, 2009]

1. Rocks and Sand
2. Once Tasted Ever Wanted
3. New Machine
4. Biathalon
5. Sioux Arrow
6. Kings Part II
7. The Kings Were Good
8. Sick On Sugar
9. Melon Bird
10. Stray Bear
11 . Fleet and Small
12. Viking Mission to Mars
13. The Easy Winners

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