When My Latest Novel released their debut Wolves a few years back many were taken by the forest-folk style, as the band walked a tightrope between organic folk and twee. On their latest release, Deaths and Entrances, the band seems to have fully realized their sound, which now seems to be strengthened by the maturation of a group constructing ornate songs throughout its duration.
Interestingly, the band spent a great deal of time on this album researching their favorite literature, taking cues from their everyday live, and weaving them into the lyrics of the album. The title, for instance, takes its name from a Dylan Thomas poem; they also pay homage to writer Alasdair Gray, who hails from the same land, Scotland, as the group.
Using influential literature as a background for constructing songs has a way of informing a band in a certain sense. In writing this set of songs the band has been able to transform their album into something entirely different than the modern pop album; it reads, rather, like a concisely written piece of prose. There is an elemental flow, not unlike literature, where the pacing of the album slows in parts, waiting for the reader, or listener in this case, to gather his or her thoughts for just a moment before moving on with more details.
The music is like a great deal of the music that is making its way from Scotland at the moment. Vocals are immediately recognizable, but in the sense that many a Scot has a distinctive dialect. And we find that the music throughout the album is quite busy, whilst the band utilizes multiple instruments to construct and deconstruct each song. According to press releases, they wrote a great deal of these songs together, which allowed the songs to blend together as one large piece of music itself; once again this lends itself to the resonance of literature that is evident in their music.
Subject matter varies on the album, with issues of war-mongering seeming to be one of the more noticeable motifs. The outlook is not quite as bright, or at least not in the eyes of the songwriters, and as the band unites to sing in unison, they encourage us all to move forward, beyond our trivial pursuits as we search for something greater for both humanity and ourselves.
Once again, My Latest Novel have created an album composed of millions of pieces, tightly pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle of aesthetically soothing tunes. The album exists as a complete composition; its a unified vision of a band sticking together, which inevitably makes it a rewarding listen time and time again.
Download: My Latest Novel – Argument Against the Man [MP3]