Rolling Stone - "RETURN TO THE MOON zeroes in on Berninger's tried-and-true themes of miscommunication and emotional distance, containing some of the most autobiographical lyrics of the singer's career."
NME (Magazine) - "On the gloopy electro-gospel of `No Time To Crank The Sun', Berninger is sincere, seeming full of regrets over the distance fame creates..."
Personnel: Lauren Jacobson (violin); Allison Hall, Moorea Masa, Margaret Wehr, Ural Thomas (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Craig Silvey.
Recording information: Boom Crash Drum Tracks Studio, Doylestown, PA; Jalopy, Portland, OR; Kickstand Studios, Venice, CA; The Whimsy Room, Falcon Art Community, Portland, OR.
Photographer: Deirdre O'Callaghan .
Return to the Moon is the debut album of EL VY, a collaboration between vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger of the National and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls, formerly of Menomena. The album blends the lighter side of both indie rock artists, offering funky, catchy, if melancholy ditties that bob along Knopf's textured arrangements, which are fond of syncopated percussion and guitar, quirky new wave synths, and rich, articulate tones from top to bottom. Accompanying what have been presented as fictionalized autobiographical lyrics by Berninger in interviews, the singer's trademark pensive baritone adds weight to even dance-minded material and handclaps, as on the lead single "Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)." (Inspired by the documentary We Jam Ecco: The Story of the Minutemen, album characters Didi Bloome and Michael are named after the influential punk band's D. Boon and Mike Watt.) Minutemen show up again later in the album's lyrics, as do other musicians, like in the nostalgia-drenched "Paul Is Alive," which has Berninger reflecting on having a Beatlemaniac mother and, as a 16-year-old, "Sitting outside the Jockey Club/Crying in my 7-Up/I could hear Hüsker Dü and the Smiths, the Sluggos, the Cramps go bup-bup-bup-bup inside." Amid the wistfulness -- which gets heavy at times -- the record is persistently slinky and sometimes cheeky, so it stays clear of dreariness. Peppered with swears and PG-13 imagery, not all of Return to the Moon is radio-friendly, but it is ear-friendly, even at its most earnest or wry. ~ Marcy Donelson