Wet Tuna: Warping All by Yourself
Wet Tuna’s latest record, Warping All by Yourself, slowly envelops you, like the waves crashing as opener “Raw Food” unfolds. If this is your entry into the Tunaverse’s Spectrasound, then prepare yourself accordingly: Traditional song structures are abandoned, lyrics come as fragments and strange sounds are layered and looped. You could call Wet Tuna a jamband, but there’s very little of what we think of as traditional “jamband” music on Warping All by Yourself. If you’ve been following Wet Tuna mastermind Matt “MV” Valentine in his myriad projects, notably MV & EE—whose Erika “EE” Elder is also featured here—then you already know that Valentine’s music eludes classification (and occasionally comprehension). The groove-based “Sweet Chump Change,” featuring MIDI magic and a soulful strut, is the closest thing the album has to a single with a hook. (And the last few minutes are built around a MIDI flute jam.) Warping All by Yourself follows a series of pandemic-era Eau’d to a Fake Bookie releases as the proper follow-up to 2019’s groovy Water Weird. (It also notably lacks contributions from Valentine’s usual Tuna partner: Garcia Peoples’ Pat “P.G. Six” Gubler.) Wet Tuna songs can play like funhouse mirror versions of tunes you know and love. “Kinda Feelin’ Good” is not Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” but listen close and it’s there. And in a very Neil Young move, the album both opens and closes with tracks called “Raw Food;” they serve as companion pieces or maybe just two halves of the same song. Like most of Warping All by Yourself, the more you listen, the more you find yourself vibing with Vantine’s, well, vibe.