Matt “MV” Valentine has spend decades moving to the beat of his own drum. The Vermont-based psych veteran is perhaps more widely known for his work as MV & EE, which also features Valentine’s partner Erika Elder (and a certain J. Mascis once upon a time).
A revolving cast of musicians spanning over 13 years, Valentine arrives with a slightly different proposition as Wet Tuna.
While Wet Tuna’s 2019 LP, Water Weird, was essentially sing-a-long psychedelia with his friends, Warping All By Yourself is far removed, as Valentine seems to have spent the last couple of years in sun-blistered open fields listening to A.R. Kane.
Alongside long-time MV & EE collaborators, Samara Lubelski, Mick Flower, and Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn, Valentine does a good job of concocting hippified soundscapes inspired by the above-noted London touchstones with his own open-field psychedelia to produce something that stands firmly on its own two feet.
With harmonies that arrive from great distances, Raw Food sees Valentine take us into his weird-zone portal. And that portal combines the accessible aspects of rural psychedelia with syrupy left-field pop. Like the punch laced with LSD at a hippy wedding, if ever there was a song to just sit into the aforementioned open fields and stare absently into the sky, then this is it.
Ain’t No Turning back is the kind of track Primal Scream could have written during the Screamadelica sessions if they were ever on the comedown. Subsequently they weren’t, and Wet Tuna takes full advantage of that with a series of sounds made by someone completely in their own time capsule. With inflections of funk and pop, Ain’t No Turning Back is one of the many inventive passages on Warping All By Yourself, and this continues with Sweet Chump Change – a song stitched together with threads of half-forgotten dreams.
Like the album title itself, So Much Vibe in the World pretty much says what’s on the tin. Here, Wet Tuna produce that breezy sunroof sway where all your worries in the world are evaporated. It’s evident that a track titled Feelin’ Kinda Good follows. Nothing else would make sense, really, as Feelin’ Kinda Good solidifies what Wet Tuna are going for here. A band purely about the vibe, and as a slightly rendered version of Raw Food ends the record, Valentine guides us back out of that weird-zone portal to some sense of normality.
Last year alongside Mr. Joy, ‘Doc’ Dunn produced similar cadences as Dr. Joy with their eponymous debut LP. On Warping All By Yourself Wet Tuna only extend those ideas. The term ‘lost in music’ springs to mind, and with good reason. With his merry band of cosmic drifters, Valentine has nailed escapism like no other so far this year.
Warping All By Yourself is out tomorrow via Three Lobed Recordings. Purchase from Bandcamp.