You can't really knock Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band's hustle and self-promotional savvy. The band debuted shrouded in mystery via a pair of would-be "viral" YouTube videos, they've produced cutesy handmade posters and packaging for their first EP, and last weekend they served up their own brand of ice cream courtesy of local ice creamery Molly Moon's.

Let me just say that the recent confluence of local indie rock and ice cream has my full support. There's Full Tilt, of course, the White Center ice-cream parlor that hosts regular all-ages shows, and then there's Molly Moon's, which doesn't host rock shows at its ice creamery but last night brought its ice cream to the rock show, distributing cups of MSHVB's branded flavor, a "coconut ice cream with chocolate chunks and huckleberry sauce." I suppose ice-cream vendors have to hustle a little extra hard to move their goods this time of year, which is fine by me if it means free ice cream. In any case, breaking news, folks: Ice cream is delicious, Molly Moon's ice cream especially so. Also, can I just say how much more excited I am by the recent wave of hip/indie ice creameries (see also: Penny Licks in Williamsburg) than I was about artisanal doughnuts or cupcakes? It goes like this: ice cream > cupcakes > doughnuts (full disclosure: I once had job working graveyard shift frying artisanal doughnuts, so I may be too harsh a judge of that trend).

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As for MSHVB, they seem like a nice bunch, but I don't really understand what all the fuss is about (also, I maintain that viral videos need to get off my lawn). Sure, their drummer is prodigiously talented and the band's key players clearly know how to play, but I just feel like their songs never really get anywhere.

Their self-titled full-length debut, out now on Dead Oceans, is full of fine, even catchy parts of songs—frequently marked by superficially proggy though nimble octave-pedaled guitar noodling—but they're all stitched together so haphazardly. The verse on "Masquerade," vocals too low in the mix to make out much, jolts into a waltzing chorus with no continuity, Queen-y ambitions evident but not quite fulfilled. "Going on a Hunt" leaps from more proggy rock triumphalism to an almost a cappella interlude and back in a way that only eats up time and sucks out momentum. "Cheer for Fate" has a similarly oddly disjointed chorus. The fantastic, slaloming chorus of "A Year or Two" comes out of such a nothing of a verse that I didn't even notice the song at all until the three-minute mark. Most of the album's best songs appeared on the band's previous EP—the almost anthemic "Who's Asking," the aforementioned "Cheers for Fate," and "Anchors Dropped," with its classic rocking guitar line chorus and its double-time drumming—an exception is the sweet chamber pop fade-out of extended album closer "On the Collar." Seriously, though, good ice cream. recommended

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