Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls have teamed up to form a brand new band called EL VY. If you’re as in love with funky melodies, poetic lyrics, and challenging indie rock like we are, this is phenomenal news.
Their debut LP, Return to the Moon, comes out October 30th via 4AD. Tackling the world as EL VY (pronounced like a plural of Elvis that rhymes with “hell pie”), the two are ready to hit the ground running given they’ve already announced a fall tour route. With that comes the album’s title-track: a disco-infused low-key dance that will make you grin from ear to ear.
“I never worried about sending Matt something unfinished,” Knopf said when asked about what it’s like to work together. “He’s able to imagine where it can go. He can grab the four bars that will become the core of the track and develop them into something amazing.” The song’s music video–several playful shots of the two in the mixing studio, dancing to the song, twirling knobs, and surveying their work–is scattered and engaging while lyrics flash across the screen. If it’s hard to imagine them working as a duo, they went ahead and solved that issue for you.
“Return to the Moon” is as happy of a pick-me-up as you’ll find on a Tuesday afternoon. Bass plucks are used sparingly to bleed one measure into the next, turning its chin to the light drumming and tambourine, ultimately combining forces for a nu-disco feel. By the time the guitar comes in, some Mark Ronson vibes take over while Berninger’s melancholic vocals keep things from getting too in your face. Sure, he’s speaking positive nonsense and strings together some solid advice (“If you’ve gotta go somewhere/ then you better go somewhere far”), but his voice will always remind us of some of the most heartbreaking songs. For that reason, hearing him and Knopf team up for something more fun is a welcome change.