Space Homestead is the latest offering from MV & EE, the ever-shifting group around Matt Valentine and Erika Elder. Relentless creators, the band has released nearly thirty works over the past decade; each tackles a different vein of their unique alternative folk. Homestead harkens back to something well-loved and well-worn, blending the group’s rustic influences with elements distinctly their own.
The album also melds these homespun sounds with something much more modern—even celestial. Well-placed reverb, synths mixed with twangy guitar, and the ambient noise in “Porchlight” remind us that MV & EE are soaking up all kinds of inspiration. Homestead seems to get harder as it goes on; the last four tracks, especially, seem to blend modern lo-fi with elements reminiscent of the Band or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. “Too Far To See” is anchored by a piercing electric guitar solo, “Wasteland” devolves into a swirling cacophony that perfectly transitions to “Porchlight.” Perhaps the album’s most interesting shift from that folksy tradition is “Moment,” which begins with simple guitar and quickly shifts to an ethereal echo chamber.
It’s clear that MV & EE like to experiment, and those variations make the album complex and compelling. From the beautiful simplicity (and charming harmonica) of “Shit’s Creek” to the sparse instrumentals of “Heart Like Barbara Steele,” the perfectly-titled Space Homestead is anything but cohesive, but certainly fascinating.