Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Stumbles On Its Ambition With Where the Messengers Meet

Artist: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

Album: Where the Messengers Meet

Label: Dead Oceans

Release Date: Tuesday, August 3

Rating (Skip, stream, or buy): Skip

Download: "Hurrah"

Local Show: Aug. 27 at Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheater with The Head and the Heart and Yuni in Taxco

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band is an average, earnest, serious rock and roll band with a collective ambition that's equally serious and earnest, but anything but average. On Where the Messengers Meet, their second full-length album for Dead Oceans Records, the Seattleites are swinging for the fences, attempting to cram elements of prog, metal, folk, and myriad other good intentions into the album's dozen tracks. It's stifling. While attempting to shake their entire bag of ideas in, they forget to polish even one, constantly stumbling over themselves en route to the next idea. The result is far less focused than their comparably modest full-length, self-titled debut last year.

"Hurrah,"--the album's standout track, if only for a minute--starts out promising, before its fully-realized melody and verse (an anomaly for Messengers) are undermined by a self-indulgent tangent that derails what little momentum the band was picking up. Messengers never recovers. And each song--seemingly intended to be individual installments in an epic novel of a record--reads like a new idea in search of a home.

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