El-VY-Return-to-the-Moon-ArtworkWhen the formation of EL VY was announced, I was particularly excited. A duo combining the giddy electronica of Menomena with the refined introspection of the national, seemed like something only dreams could be made of.

When the lead single and the album’s opening track ‘Return to the moon’ hit the blogosphere, it was anything but a dissapointment. To hear The National’s Matt Berninger’s lyrics laced over a simple,  accessible guitar riff instead of some refined instrumentation was refreshing and right on point.

This album follows that lead, with Menomena continuing to provide the sort of carefree sound they’re known for, and Matt Berninger doing something you might think him incapable of, having fun. ‘Paul is alive’, the second single, manages to use the talents of both even better, as it has its softer moments, yet also has one of the best, most accessible choruses you’ll hear this year.

‘No time to crank the sun’ also showcases something that this album does fantastically, combining light humour with often similarly easy going instrumentation. It’s a joy and sends us happily into the second half of the album where songs like ‘Sleepin Light’ manage to brilliantly sustain the well-established mood of the record.

It does have its finer moments though, yet they don’t retract from the feel of the record, often being punctured with effortless spots of humour from Matt. Songs such as ‘Silent Ivy Hotel’ and ‘It’s a game’ are perfect examples of this, continuing with the humour we now know EL VY for, yet providing a well-received balance to the record.

Side projects have a history of producing half-baked ideas and are therefore rightly approached with doubt. There’s no need for that fear here though, this is a fully formed treat of a record. It doesn’t only sound brilliant but, as a National fan, it might be a foreshadowing of which direction they might and should go.

Release Date 30/10/2015 (Explicit Lyrics)

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.