Another Gorgeous, Lushly Orchestrated, Psychedelic Album from My Education
NYMD’s sister blog Lucid Culture called four-guitar Austin postrock instrumentalists My Education “The Dirty Three meets Friends of Dean Martinez meets Brooklyn Rider meets My Bloody Valentine,” which makes sense. Their music takes you away to a different and much better universe, where angst is confronted and then transcended, where pain rises and is then swept away on the wings of what sounds like a million guitars. Lush, ornate, hypnotic and psychedelic to the extreme, their new album A Drink for All My Friends blends Dirty Three pensiveness and FODM desert ambience with elegantly austere touches of Brooklyn Rider strings, then stirs it ferociously with a MBV dreampop swirl.
This album opens on an unexpectedly quiet note, guest Sarah Norris’ vibraphone mingling with James Alexandre’s viola for a hypnotic circularity that brings to mind Missy Mazzoli’s chamber rock band Victoire. Then the guitars enter one by one on the second track, For All My Friends, an army of roaring riffage that finally rises to a titanic wall of frantic tremolo-picking, reaching a Pink Floyd majesty as the bass bubbles over the top of the sonic cauldron and ends unexpectedly raw and jaggedly: what a ride this is!
The practically ten-minute, cinematic Mr. 1986 builds out of a pretty, acoustic chamber-pop theme into an elegaic anthem, both nebulous and forcefully direct, Henna Chou’s terse piano finally taking centertstage and then quickly receding against the guitar orchestra. Built around a distantly menacing, echoey heart monitor motif, Black Box richly blends twinkly Rhodes piano with all the guitars into a slow, crepuscular freeway theme speckled with weird samples of television or radio dialogue,
Robot-Hohlenbewoner rides a funky, more animated motorik groove: if U2 wrote good songs, they would sound like this. The ten-minute Happy Village takes its time to eventually clarify that this particular village isn’t so happy at all: it’s the Velvets as John Cale might have dreamed of orchestrating them circa 1967, plus mid-70s Floyd angst, hynotic Black Angels murk and an unexpected nod to new wave on the way out. The album ends with the arena-rock spoof Homunculus, like Big Lazy’s Starchild but more amusingly crass. My Education are huge in Europe, which is where they are right now, on tour: a band this good deserves just as avid a following on their own side of the pond. Count this among the most lushly enjoyable albums of the year in any style of music.