• Review

EP Review: Mavis Guitar - Thinking Further, You Must Be The Color

These are strange days, friends. It feels uncertain in a way that is hard to describe, frightening in a way that is only slightly removed from the void screaming back. There doesn’t seem to be much subtlety. The Discourse has discarded nuance for a strict binary. Sure, there’s Right, and there’s definitely Wrong, but lo, it’s just too tempting to fire off that Hot Take before we think it all through.

If nothing else, this quasi-isolation has led Travis Talbert down a path of rumination, a place where he’s sitting in the sublime and working through some shit. We should all be so lucky, to be honest. With touring off the table - and a table of scraps if there ever was one, at that - his more straightforward adventures with Frontier Folk Nebraska have taken a bit of a backseat. Instead, time with family and the space to Think About It All has given him a bit of a push to bring more of his solo project, Mavis Guitar, into the world. If nothing else, we should be thankful for that.

The newest release - Thinking Further, You Must Be The Color, dropping next Friday, August 7, via Bandcamp - are four truly disparate tracks, wordless except for album opener, “Getting Away With It.” Which, coincidentally, we’re premiering here today. And, by ‘disparate’ I simply mean they’re aural scenes set without context, though musically speaking, they all share Talbert’s delightfully meandering songwriting and structure.

Oh, and when you digitally pre-order the EP, you’ll get the track immediately. If you wait until August 7, though, that’s the next “Bandcamp Day,” where all fees are waived and each and every penny goes to the artist or label.

Pre-order the EP NOW and get Download of "Getting Away With It" today!

The track itself wouldn’t sound out of place in a 70’s period drama, but filmed today-ish. Think Tarantino meets Spike Lee and you get the visual. “Getting Away With It” has a vibe, you dig? Fuzzy, rattled, inspired. As Talbert puts it, “The first track is also a continued analysis of American culture: anything for a buck.” It’s easy to hear once that little piece falls into place.

Though it may have been bubbling below the surface, the inspiration for the EP is a bit more esoteric than you might think. “This collection is four songs that I wrote to match the cover painting, done by local actor, writer, and former Bughouse Video owner, Brian Griffin.”

As a whole, “these four tunes are meditations on my place in the world lately with my outlet of live, collective musical performance on hold for the indefinite future and the uncertainty we are all experiencing,” he says.

“Meditations” feels an apt description. From fuzzy guitar to somber piano, with quiet tambourine, slide guitar, and Ambiance with a capital ‘A,’ this newest Mavis Guitar EP is quintessential mood music, as only Mavis Guitar somehow always manages to get away with. The mood? Depends on where you are in these strange, strange times. Listen and decide.