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Drawing members from Seattle’s popular In Praise of Folly, the band comprises the Verdoes brothers, Matthew Dammer (Moog, guitar, trumpet), Jared Price (bass, vocals), and Traci Eggleston (percussion, keys, vocals), who is also married to the elder Verdoes. Without the help of any music–not even a single mp3 to share–Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band stirred up excitement and anticipation in their hometown of Seattle. The band creatively introduced a series of comical PSAs on its MySpace page (‘Homeostasis,’ ‘Boring,’ ‘Technology,’ and ‘GDOL- Gradual Death Over Lifetime’), starring various band members with a focus on scene-stealer Marshall.
The excitement around Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band has continued to build. In November 2008, Spin included Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band in its ‘Buzzcatcher’ column, saying, ‘check how ‘Dull Reason’ and ‘Anchors Dropped’ ingeniously whipsaw between tense indie raving and harmony-rich pastoralia.’ More love was garnered by Alternative Press in their ‘AP&R’ section, where they proclaimed, ‘The Pacific Northwest buzz is palpable thanks to complex and unique arrangements and a feel good atmosphere.’
Co-produced by Scott Colburn (the Arcade Fire, Animal Collective), their album at first blush recalls Wolf Parade; the band’s frayed melodic sensibilities and Benjamin’s urgent, driven vocals in particular. Of course, Wolf Parade borrowed a few ideas from Modest Mouse, whose beginnings were indebted to the Pixies. This is the sort of musical lineage that creates the foundation for Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band’s debut LP. But Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band are not solely inspired by their contemporaries; dig a little deeper and strains of Queen’s over-the-top epic rock peers through, while exhilarating guitar work that nods towards Thin Lizzy appears in more than a few songs. — Dead Oceans
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