Mt. Egypt Perspectives

At first listen, these songs of the erstwhile Travis Graves weren’t much more than transmissions from a pining soul, but with each subsequent listen the music and raw quality of Graves’ voice finally started to connect. There are still moments when it’s a little too maudlin for its own good, but Perspectives excels in the warm inviting instrumentation that accompanies the basic guitars. One of the best examples is in the deceptively simple "Yeah Man,” where the plaintive nature lulls until the simple addition of some creeping Asian-accented guitars change the flavour of the song and what started as mundane becomes almost malevolent. While that is an almost perfect example of less being more, the more straightforward tunes have a great lush, almost pop, sheen to them, as heard in opener "We Are Here.” With a great layering of horns, drums and Graves’ imperfect pipes, it’s almost like a less idiosyncratic version of the latest Calexico and Iron & Wine collaboration. Although there are some rote man-and-guitar songs, Perspectives gives enough surprises to warrant a listen. Just give a few listens more than usual. (Record Collection)