[21 January 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
It’s easy to latch onto the past when you hear Martha’s Vineyard Ferries and realize the band is a trio composed of Kahoots’ Elisha Weisner, Bob Weston from Shellac, Volcano Suns, and Mission of Burma, and Chris Brokaw from Come, Codeine, the New Year, and loads of other projects. But make no mistake, the trio’s new record, Mass. Grave, is all about now, about pressing forward with a new sound. The band is somehow rumbling and propulsive at the same time. Weisner’s guitar and Weston’s bass shadow each other through these songs, charging forward together on “Wrist Full of Holes”, circling each other menacingly on “Parachute”, and sprinting wild-eyed and frenzied through “Blonde on Blood”. Meanwhile, Chris Brokaw’s drums can keep the speed going or they can dig down into a dark moment and keep us there. The songs range from the overcast energy of “She’s a Fucking Angel (From Fucking Heaven)” to the surf-rock bounce of “Ramon and Sage” to the epic rock heft of closer “One White Swan”. In just 21 minutes, Mass. Grave achieves an expansive snarl, and this trio has taken all its considerable talents, and its musical past, and have fused something dark yet never trudging, fierce but never combative, harsh but also sweet and, from song to song, endlessly rewarding.