Title: We Met In The Arts
Release Date: August 7, 2009
Review By: Scott L
- Talks Too Much
- Green Forest Road
- My Oh My
- Mr. Magsam
- Western Son / Eastern Seaboard
- Living In Florida
- Elliot, I’ve Been To The Forest
- Little Christmas Tykes
This last summer my uncle and his family made a long overdue trip to visit us. I say long overdue because it had been somewhere around 15 years since I had seen them. Needless to say, my three cousins had changed a great deal. Two of them hadn’t even been in elementary school yet… and one hadn’t even been in existence yet. So it was a shocking transformation all the way around.
And you may be asking, what does that have to do with this CD review? And I’m glad you asked. This is my second review of LaVoy’s body of work. And to be honest, this new CD is a whole different animal than their previous EP. To put it another way… “Look Ma, they’s all growed up,” is what I might say if I was related to Jed Clampett. Or if I was an Orion Walsh fan. Bad joke. Sorry. Suffice it to say that if you even mildly enjoyed LaVoy’s “Said The Quiet Hands” EP, then you’ll love their new full-length release, “We Met In The Arts”.
In case you’re late to the party, LaVoy is a 4-piece out of Wasilla, Alaska (yes, just like Sarah Palin) that plays a seriously eclectic brand of indie rock with hints of folk and a big jazz undercurrent. The new CD tends to opt for a more utilitarian sound. Less smoothing of the edges and more raw energy. In spite of this slight shift in sound, LaVoy still manages to maintain their style. Think somewhere along the lines of Portugal The Man meets The Shins meets Forward Russia who had already met Fires Of Rome. So their sound isn’t easy to nail down… so sue me.
Characterized by a heavy groove and a punchy vocal delivery, LaVoy is hard not to like and nearly impossible to ignore. And one listen through will show you why the beast on the drums drinks more water during the course of a live set than anyone I’ve ever seen. And I’ve sat through outdoor shows in 114 degree heat.
Packaging is first rate on this release. Lyrics are included which is profoundly appreciated. Wink, wink. Production is superb, as you would imagine of a project handled by Jason Martin of Starflyer 59. Add to that the lead singer’s fabulous taste in hats and there’s really no way that this CD can miss.
Lyrically, LaVoy is pretty upfront with their songs. They manage to be contemplative without making you dive too deep to appreciate what they’re saying. Usually. There’s also a hint of the band’s spirituality here and there but nothing too overt. Consider the song “Green Forest Road” as an example of the typically feel, it says, “settle into the rut that they dug you / a corpse with a view / dark like a coffin / six feet under in Boston / shine through / out of the fire and into the quicksand / feels right / avoid all the issues that put me in your shoes / all my life / pour out the water in my fish tank / for words to build you a title wave / but everyone knows that its not my place”.
The standout track was definitely “Mr. Magsam” which has some great change-ups and an almost alt-shoegazer feel at times before hitting the big groove finale that is a perfect set up for the following song “Western Son / Eastern Seaboard” which I also dug but came off a bit repetitive and seemed to lose momentum. This song worked a lot better live, but, hey, any song that mentions a seahorse is alright in my book. Yes, even Owl City. Besides, “Living In Florida” picks things right back up and pushes you down the home stretch.
Overall: The only thing that held this CD back in my opinion was that structurally some of the songs drone on a bit rather than following a consistent progression. But that was actually pretty rare. So aside from that, LaVoy’s brand spankin’ new full-length release, “We Met In The Arts” is a sight to behold… and one that you should seriously consider checking out.