Dead Oceans announced yesterday the sophomore release by Portland’s Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, titled Where The Messengers Meet. The album, out August 3, hits about a year and a half after the band’s self-titled debut. That album came in just outside our top 10 album of 2009 thanks to angular, erratic, and often hauntingly frantic musicianship fronted by expert, harmonic vocals.
This new offering comes with a tune from the forthcoming album. The song is called “Leaving Trails” and it highlights vocalist Benjamin Verdoes in a slightly different light. Remaining are his oft distorted vocals, but here they’re deep and not nearly as urgent as those off the debut. In fact, the entire song is like this — it’s borderline dreamy, focusing on harmony rather than dissonance, melody over discord.
The harmonies were once obscure, but that has been replaced with that which is slightly more peaceful. Those elements seemed to create a haunting effect on the debut yet here MSHVB demonstrates they can be just as haunting on the flip-side. With the power behind Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band’s debut and the progression seen in “Leaving Trails”, Where The Messengers Meet is easily one of the year’s most anticipated new releases.