October 13, 2005

Mt. Egypt "Perspectives"

Mt. Egypt's second album, Perspectives, sure has annoyed me. The first time I listened to it, I played it on my stereo. I tried to listen to it while working on some other projects, but it bored me somethin' terrible. I was convinced that Mt. Egypt's Travis Graves was nothing more than a second-rate folkie singing pseudo-Neil Young songs in a Will Oldham kind of way. After all, such artists are a dime a dozen these days, especially with the whole "freak folk" thing being popular. So with such feelings in mind, I prepared to write this review. I put Perspectives on my discman, only to discover that this record wasn't nearly as bad as my first listen.

It only took one listen to "We Are Here" to realize that I'd been quite wrong about Perspectives. Graves sings with a hushed, quiet reserve, tempered with a gentle sensitivity that's rare for this particular musical style. Accompanied by subtle washes of guitar, piano and percussion , songs like "Yeah Man" and "Snow Through The Pass" are humble aural treats that come alive in a quite beautiful way in the headphones. "The Now Penguin" highlights this quite well--underneath Graves' singing, you'll find a beautiful piano and string arrangement--it's one that's missed if you don't listen to it without some concentration. The pace never changes; listening to Perspectives feels like a Mississippi porch on a humid Saturday night.

This highlights Perspectives' fatal flaw: the arrangements are subtle to the point of being nonexistent, and as such, it quickly gives the record a monotonous feel. It's unfortunate, though, because Perspectives is an otherwise lovely listen. One could say it's due to a poor mix, or one could say that Graves simply uses the same formula for his songwriting, but neither of those answers quite satisfy as to why Perspectives comes across the way it does. Still, if you can discern the differences, or you simply listen to it piecemeal, Perspectives is an enjoyable, touching listen.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.mtegypt.com
Label Website: http://www.recordcollectionmusic.com

No comments: