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What in Your Heart Can Put You in a Trance - Don't Take All This Groove Away TDRCO-023

Digital Album (Lossless + MP3)

What in Your Heart Can Put You in a Trance
Don't Take All This Groove Away
TDRCO-023

Release Date: May 4, 2012

1 Nothing Ever Changes
2 Straight Back To The Dreaming
3 Feel it So Much!
4 Hatred Can Never Be Good
5 Visitations
6 Let it All Fall Free
7 Bobby in Six-Eight

From album opener Nothing Ever Changes to finale Bobby in Six-Eight, the brand new album Don’t Take All This Groove Away from What in Your Heart Can Put You in a Trance (May 2012, Ten Dollar Recording Company) is a type of fever dream slow dance that spends the bulk of its 30 minute running time contentedly swirling around its own floor-length coat-tails. A collaboration between talented and understated Portland multi-instrumentalists Mariya May and Ryan Michael Block, Don’t Take All This Groove Away is a gossamer-laced, foggy-eyed walkabout through dense thickets of underbrush on the outskirts of town, meandering its way in and out of field and forest without much thought to final destination, but not seeming to care too much either way. The end result is an album that is received well both by close listen and as a background soundtrack for an afternoon spent hiding behind drapes that have been drawn tight. Melodies are subdued and often both playful and poignant, with an edge of contemplative melancholy that runs the album’s length like a seam.

To claim that the individual tracks on Don’t Take All This Groove Away are meant to lilt and meander would be accurate, though saying so shouldn’t suggest a lack of kinetics. May and Block’s chemistry is simplistically laid bare in a productive way, and songs tend to revolve on a central melodic axis until their respective orbits have fully wound their way around the listener’s consciousness. The overall feeling one takes away from the album is a kind of ease, even amongst the more plaintive thematics; the gently sprawling interstices of tracks such as Straight Back to the Dreaming, Let It All Fall Free, and Bobby in Six Eight seem like they could go on forever despite the slow fade into the next song, and the album overall is warm and (at times) rather epic in its own subdued way.

May’s vocal work is stellar as usual, though more subdued here in favor of augmenting and supporting the central melodic arc of Block’s arrangements, at times rising to the forefront as with Straight Back to the Dreaming, or else acting as a type of reverberated counterpoint drifting over individual tracks (Let It All Fall Free). That familiar, 90’s-tinged Mazzy Star element is still present somewhat, though the total feeling of Don’t Take All This Groove Away is largely its own creation. The interplay of instruments is lush and varied (and both Block and May play their fair share of them), and the addition of May’s flute at points is sufficient to elevate songs to another level, such as with the rocky, windswept Feel It So Much!. There’s a colloquial, accessible feel to both the instrumentation and the songs themselves that is quite nice, and gives the album an unassuming air that further adds to its palpability.

Thematically, Don’t Take All This Groove Away’s musical directions branch outwards to take in various layers of waltzy, folkish textures that largely tend to retain a strong element of the baroque throughout, even when they expand to include reggae (such as with the revamped, defanged version of Brainiac’s Nothing Ever Changes) or a slightly Eastern European touch (the upbeat Hatred Can Never Be Good). Most of all, however, what the listener is treated to here is a gentle freak-folk outing that is fairly ornate and kaliedescopic in its scope. One of the best and most memorable aspects of Don’t Take All This Groove Away is its propensity to wander. May and Block bring elements to the table here that blend into a palatable collaboration that hints at good things to come. (REED BURNAM)

What In Your Heart Can Put You In A Trance is nothing short of miraculous in their approach to nostalgic music-making. The Oregon-based group explores the fluid sounds of a by-gone era steeped in the mysterious, blissful, and experimental vibes of America’s 1970s. The groovy leanings are trance-filled and awe-inspiring to say the least. The dreamy, psychedelic, folk wanderings of Don’t Take All This Groove Away are for the spirited soul looking for infectious and inventive musical creations with a good dose of down-tempo splendor. (MATTHEW FORSS)