I’m reviewing El Vy’s debut album, Return to the Moon. It was released on October 30th on 4AD records. El Vy, r at least this album, is a project set up by Matt Berninger of the National, and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls.
The first track is the title track, Return to the Moon. This whole song overall is very fun and happy. The guitar riff and jumping bass lines are just excellent and really compliment each other. Another part of the song that I like are the synths and keys. They sound very spacey and fun as well. The weary vocals compliment it all very well. Overall an excellent and fun song that would sound very good live.
On to track 2, I’m the man to be. When you first listen, it sounds very spacey and somewhat creepy, with what I think is animal noises as well as what sounds like birds. The you’re hit with this awesome bass riff and the magic starts happening. The heavy guitar, jumping bass line, and weary vocals are amazing. This song reminds me somewhat of the Black Keys like, straight out of Brothers, and I love me some Black Keys. The song seems to take place at a hotel with a vocal talking part in the middle. Overall, it is a very hard and rocking song with a good sound and suggestive lyrics.
Track 3, Paul is Alive. First off, I love the title of the song. I’m a huge Beatles fan so when I saw the title, I knew I had to mention it. Basically a rumor circulated in 1969 that Beatles bassist Paul McCartney died in a car crash in November of 1966 and was decapitated, and was replaced by a double that looks exactly like Paul even though he’s not the actual Paul. It also says that the 3 remaining Beatles hid clues about it on the cover art or in all albums from Sgt. Pepper onward. They can be found if you do things such as playing specific songs backwards or hidden silently in the background. It will take too long to explain what he rumor is about, so just google it if you want to know more about it (although I really want to talk about it in depth though.) So about the actual song, it’s really good. The song is about what I guessed, the Paul is dead rumor, or rumors in general. Its speaks about how no one can hide from rumors and trouble, thus the title, Paul is alive makes sense. Once again the bass, guitar, and lyrics are very good. A great song that’s definitely worth a listen.
Track 4, Need a Friend. This song sound very cool and slick. The bass and heavily distorted guitar work well and the drums are heavy and hard hitting. The synths work well in this song, as they give it a dreamy vibe. The lyrics are a guy in a club who, needs a friend and is heartbroken and lonely. Everyone can relate to it. The song has a hard rock sound and is just great.
Track 5, Silent Ivy hotel. This song is slower, and moodier. The guitar, keys, and vocals are slower as well. They keys on this track are the best, as the mix of the organ and piano remind me of 60s music for some reason. The lyrics are about people hooking up at a hotel. The song is good overall, but the little guitar solo in the middle is probably my favorite part overall though. It also reminds me of something out of a James Bond film too. Overall a pretty decent song.
Now for track 6, No Time to Crank the Sun. This song is slower as well. The meaningful piano and walking bass lines are the best part of the song. The lyrics are about having no time to relax, instead we just have to keep moving on and how time is slipping away. The whole thing has a dream atmosphere to it and is done very well. This song is somewhat relatable and is one of the best tracks on this album.
Track 7, It’s a game. This song is very dreamy and that’s what it’s about. Its wanting to just slip away and to go somewhere else to get out of reality for a while. I love the acoustic guitar as well as the synth, which is a sound I’ve never hear before. Once again this track is incredible and overall fantastic.
Track 8, Sleepin’ Light. This song is funky and free flowing. The intro to this song is great. The whole thing is dreamy and has a sleeplike atmosphere to it, which is just what the lyrics are centered around. It is a radical shift from all the other songs on this album, which makes it stand out and makes it very unique from the bunch. The lyrics are about a guy who wants his girl to come back to him, and doesn’t want to sleep alone. The keys are dreamlike atmospheric in nature, it hold the whole song together. This is one of the best songs on the album, it’s easily in the top 3.
Next up is track 9, Sad Case. This song has a very raw, powerful, and emotional sound. It features roaring guitar, crashing drums, and a dynamic bass sound. This song to me feels very passionate and raw as stated before. It has a very good and loud sound overall. The guitar and the guitar solos are the best part of this song.
Now for track 10, Happiness, Missouri. I like the title of this one, as my dad’s side of my family primarily lives there. I’ve been there before, and I can tell you it’s a very boring and drab place overall. Like the last song, it has a loud and rocking sound. Once again it faintly reminds me of the Black Keys. Overall it is a good listen.
Last is track 11, Careless. The acoustic guitar mixes in with the strings very well. This song is a very good song to end an album. It’s very emotional and powerful. I love the use of the strings. It just ads to the appeal. Once again it’s just a great song.
The whole album was alright overall. I’ve heard from other students at this station that they think it’s boring, but I beg to differ. El Vy has a good sound, although it feels like it’s a solo project by Berninger. I wouldn’t guess that it was two people. It can get a little repetitive or boring, but it s still enjoyable. I would give this album a 6.5/10.