Dominated by gentle sighs and fluid guitar filigrees, Space Homestead recalls two old souls jamming on the porch as the sun sinks into the horizon—after a hit of acid. MV & EE (Matt Valentine and Erika Elder) infuse their folk rock with psychedelic soul.
At times, it's a little too raw for my taste. On "Shit's Creek," for instance, you can hear tapping as a guitar (or something) keeps bumping into the microphone. Either that, or they were aiming for an especially primitive percussion sound (over the years, Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis has filled in as their drummer). Throughout the nine tracks, which feature lap steel and harmonica, Valentine and Elder take turns singing or join together such that their unaffected voices melt into one. With his halting, jazz inflections, Valentine has a bit of a Mose Allison thing going on.
Psychedelia comes to the fore whenever they layer their vocal tracks to create a virtual choir; at which point, it's impossible to make out any of the the lyrics, but Valentine and Elder tend to prioritize feel and mood over meaning and message.
"Too Far to See," which I wrote about here, remains the star of the set, highlighting Valentine's Neil Young-inspired fretwork, a high lonesome, yet soulful sound. I still think they come on like a stripped-down Black Moth Super Rainbow—there are no dance beats here—while the gospel melody on "Sweet Sure Gone" and drone and crackle on "Porchlight" conjure up Spacemen 3 (and bonus points for titling opener "Heart of Barbara Steele" after the Hammer Horror icon).
MV & EE chose an apt title: Space Homestead offers musical solace for stargazers and cowboys alike. Woodsist releases the record on May 15, 2012 (East Coast tour dates above). Fun fact: "MV & EE" is slang for zero gravity.