Mt St Helens Vietnam Band - Where the Messengers Meet - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band - Where the Messengers Meet

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-08-02

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band (the name, apparently, has no relevance) make widescreen, angsty US alt-rock. The music on Where the Messengers Meet is expansive, emotive and intense, but also fuzzy and rough around the edges, like a lo-fi Arcade Fire. Tracks like 'At Night' and 'Leaving Trails' are fraught and knotted with anxiety, but still retain the necessary hooks to pull the casual listener in. Meanwhile, more subdued tracks like 'The Roof' and the bewitchingly mournful 'Gone Again' reveal Benjamin Verdoes to be a singer of rare nuance and subtly.

This second album from the Seattle band definitely marks them out as ones to keep an eye on, but you sense their great statement is yet to come. Some songs on here, such as the fidgety, twisty 'Hurrah', are just too convoluted to actually be enjoyable. 'Cadance', for example, feels as though it has a tricksy, limping beat just for the sake of it, which only serves to detract from the emotional core of the song. Meanwhile, tracks like the folky 'Bitter Cold' or 'You Were/I Was' fail to hold one's interest, despite the latter's dramatic strings. But then you hear 'Not to Know', which sounds like early REM crossed with the frozen junkie grandeur of Berlin-era Lou Reed, and you realise this band could be capable to something really special.

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