EL VY, “Return to the Moon”

ElVy_2015_ReturntotheMoonEL VY
Return to the Moon
4AD
8/10

EL VY‘s first record is a fun and playful affair, which is certainly a surprise considering the pair (The National’s Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf from Menomena/Ramona Falls) that’s involved. Don’t worry, Berninger’s normally lugubrious vocals still maintain an element of morosity, but once channeled through his surreal (and occasionally nonsensical) lyrics, as well as Knopf’s nuanced but restless musical experiments, these eleven songs become transcendental incarnations of the two musicians. Ostensibly, the album takes the form of a fictional love story loosely based on The Minutemen’s D. Boon and Mike Watt, but it doubles as a more internal and autobiographical exploration of life, love, memory, and humanity.  Whether that’s through the sultry tones of “Silent Ivy Hotel,” the vaguely trippy “Paul Is Alive”—a rumination on Berninger’s musical education—or the surprisingly dark, riff-laden “Sad Case,” Return to the Moon makes for a compelling collection of songs that’s certainly worthy of a place on the shelves alongside Berninger and Knopf’s other outfits.

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