Matt Valentine: What I have Became LP
If string theory is correct, this is approximately the thirteenth album Matt Valentine has released that definitely shouldn’t be filed under a group name (Tower Recordings, Bummer Road, Golden Road, etc.). On the other hand, if string theory is correct, this might also be his 11,000th album.
The truth, one suspects, is somewhere in between. Since bedding down in southern Vermont at the dawn of the century, MV has been as cussedly prolific as anyone. The gout of LPs, cassettes, CDRs, singles and 10-inches emerging from Maximum Arousal Farm has dwarfed the output of everyone ’cept maybe Sunburned or Thurston.
Regardless, there can never be enough MV LPs in the world, and What I Became is a beaut. Most of it is as solo as Satan, apart from percussionist Jeremy Earl (of Woods fame), whose presence is sometimes felt more than heard. Erika “EE” Elder and Mike “Muskox” Smith also pop up on a track, but the general approach here is as naked-and-loaded as the soul of Icepick Slim.
As usual, MV’s tunes and procedures beggar easy generification. Elements of deep forest psychedelia brush against Crazy Horse guitar / vocal flourishes that explode to reveal volk-based form mayhem at its hickiest.
My particular fave here is “PK Dick,” a paean to nth dimensional logic in the form of a Swedish psych-folk readymade. My son prefers the haunted-Harvest-vibe (his words) of “ Ave. B.” My wife goes for the Seventh Sons approach offered by “Sweet Little Indian Girl” (always a fave with the ladies).
And my daughter nods in the direction of “Continuing the Good Life” for reasons she will not explain. I suspect it’s the hooty vocals, reminding her of teen pop giants like The Shins and Of Montreal, but she ain’t sayin’. All this just goes to show that What I Became is a fun album for the whole family. It will soothe your savage breasts. It will turn your evil mother-in-law into a porpoise. It will wash yr dishes and darn yr socks. Darn them! Motherfucker, who else would do that? Nobody, Jack. ’Cept MV. This guy has the magic touch. And it has never been displayed better than here. Just get the fucking rec. Or prepare to go sockless. Kind of a no-brainer, eh? —Byron Coley