Forgive me. It’s raining outside and it’s been raining for a very long time. I overslept for no particular reason other than I felt like it and missed out on doing the one thing I had to do today. Today is not a good day. So listening to Mt. Egypt’s Perspectives, Travis Graves’ second effort, was probably not the best of ideas.
There is absolutely nothing controversial about Mt. Egypt (other than the fact that Egypt is a country and not a mountain but I think we can all forgive Mr. Graves for that construction). Graves is a former pro-skater from California who has a penchant for writing quiet songs filled with lush arrangements and straightforward lyrics. With that, you must now understand why listening to Perspectives on a day like today was a poor planning on my part.
To say the least, Perspectives is a really beautiful record but, as is the curse of most beautiful records, it is pretty boring. The album has this laid back groove that starts out wonderfully with album opener “We Are Here,” but the groove soon becomes a rut that Graves can’t seem to pull himself out of. Part of the boredom spurns from the fact that all of the arrangements on Perspectives are incredibly similar, in that adult-alternative-Coldplay sort of way. They start out slow and build to the grand epic, and while the songs don’t necessarily sound the same, by the middle of the album it’s hard not to lose interest.
While boring but beautiful is, as stated above, a common problem that most singer-songwriters must overcome, Perspectives really shouldn’t be a boring record. Lyrically, Graves doesn’t fall short. He’s not annoyingly cryptic but doesn’t dumb things down either. Graves’ lyrics have a cute innocence, which is only augmented by his orchestrated songs. “Let me take one now for the team / While I’ve still got my spleen / And everything else in between,” Graves sings on “Snow Through the Pass.”
Former Ednaswap/current Autolux member Carla Azar, one of the most talented female drummers working today, lends her rhythmic skill to Perspectives, leading one to believe that the album will at least have some pretty sweet drum rolls or something but there’s nothing there. Azar might as well have never met Graves because her presence is seemingly absent throughout Perspectives.
But most importantly, Perspectives is a really beautiful record and as I look at the rain and wonder when it’s going to stop, I think that may not necessarily be such a bad thing.
Will Oldham – Joya
Mark Eitzel – Invisible Man
Edith Frost – Telescopic