Side Project Baby #2
Mark T. Smith and Matthew Cooper had never strayed from their musical projects, Smith as the guitarist for Explosions in the Sky and Cooper as the multi-instrumentalist and laptop guru for Eluvium, until their friendship blossomed. After touring together and many late-night chats, the fittingly named Inventions was born. And they’ve completed now not one, but two albums, the latest being Maze of Woods, an earthy-meets-electropop project with more depth and detail than their first go-around.
You’ll find that tracks are not as powerful as an EITS or Eluvium track. There aren’t many booming climaxes that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; rather, tracks flow together quietly and contently. Fragmented voices are heard on several tracks, including “A Wind From All Directions” and “Peregrine,” where it sounds like a woman’s voice. The only instance where a clear sentence is spoken is during the first 30 seconds of the album in opener “Escapers”: “I wanted to do something that I don’t know how to do.” You’ll also hear a clear half-sentence as well: “…struggling human being, um…”
“Springworlds” sounds the most like an EITS song, featuring Smith’s signature guitar sound throughout the whole track. Otherwise, there are few instances of songs sounding like either EITS or Eluvium.
Is Inventions better than Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium? That’s hard to say. While the end product Maze of Woods doesn’t actually sound like what you think the end product would sound like if two of today’s greatest instrumental bands got together and birthed a baby, it is still a healthy, cool, creative baby.