- by Sean Hewson Rating:7 Release Date:2016-10-07 Label: Woodsist
root/void is Matt Valentine and Erika Elder playing loads of instruments with loads of chums. There's a pyramid of speakers on the cover. IN THE SKY.
This album is actually a lovely, gentle example of what The Wire called New Weird America. A genre which has quietly refused to either become a thing or to go away. root/void is full of the slightly unhinged, gone-wrong side of psychedelia with shades of If Only I Could Remember My Name, Yerself Is Steam, There's A Riot Goin' On, Maggot Brain and countless lesser known albums made in the farms and forests of 60s and 70s Germany and America. I love an album that immediately makes me want to dig out a load of other albums. Lyrically root/void has a very nice, open, welcoming feel to it. It actually seems quite revolutionary in 2016 for an album to be so in love with love. On top of this there are also some nice, quite cheeky ideas - the really funky bass line and drum machine bubbling along quietly like Sly Stone on i wanna see u far away, the way the drum machine is played live rather than programmed on i'm still in love with you love, and the way Matt Valentine noodles away on guitar as if he's got all the time in the world on the several tributes to Eddie Hazel and Maggot Brain.
root/void is dripping in hippie clichés - bells are tinkled, birds cheep, bongos are bongoed - but MV & EE don't really care. It's a lovely album and it's all the more lovely when you hear them sing 'love is everyone' on not one, but two of the tracks. This is not the story we are seeing on the news each night. It's a rare view of what it must be like to not care about what we're supposed to care about and to just care about each other.