My Education: 5 Popes

In response to the oversight of not having an original vinyl release, Austin-based instrumental band My Education are putting out a remaster of their 2002 debut, 5 Popes, in analog form, complete with two new mixes and a bonus track. After a very fruitful 2013, the group took a look back at their previously CD-only album, and decided that it was time to actually meet the demand for vinyl copies.

A good simile to use when describing many instrumental albums is that they are like bodies of water. The music ebbs and flows like a tide, and can become rough as though caught in a storm or full of boat traffic. 5 Popes is no exception, where listening to songs like opener “Concentration Waltz” becomes akin to sitting by a busy harbor for a full day and watching all of the hustle and bustle play out in almost slow motion. “Lesson 3,” which is spattered with samples of men and women speaking à la Dark Side Of The Moon, becomes the soundtrack to a zany question and answer session. “Nightrider Meets The Waterfall” sounds at first like what would be in the credits of an action mystery thriller, but warps into a ghostly echo of its previous form. Quiet bonus track “Thanksgiving” comes in at the end, but feels as though it was there all along.

5 Popes contains all of the features that an instrumental album should have: It is dynamic and it makes the listener want to pick up their instrument of choice and call up some friends for some jamming. There is a perfect balance between the commonplace and the wildly unexpected on display, where both musician and listener alike know exactly where they are in the music, but they are completely in the dark about what is going to come next.

In A Word: Fluid