Musée Mécanique’s dual songwriters, Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie, met in their ninth grade English class twenty years ago, and they have been making music together ever since. The band’s 2009 debut, Hold this Ghost, featured immediate melodies and lush orchestration that garnered significant press and a devoted listenership worldwide (as well as a glowing review from Pitchfork). Musée Mécanique’s ambitious follow-up, From Shores of Sleep, is a rich and dense musical voyage that finds its lineage as much in the song-cycles of Robert Schumann as in its Portland, Oregon, folk-rock contemporaries. Over the course of two years, Rabwin and Ogilvie labored over lyrics both together and separately, referencing Homer’s Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno, Jacques Cousteau, old sailors legends, as well as their own interactions with the ocean and the rivers near Portland.
Using water as the album’s central image, Musée Mécanique has crafted a story both surreal and insightful, meticulous and moving. It’s a record about travels and transitions. And Musée Mécanique knows a thing or two about transition: To perform the new arrangements live is a daunting task requiring the once-minimal group to utilize more than a dozen keyboards and an array of acoustic instruments, from flugelhorn to lap-steel to musical saw. Nevertheless, having swelled from a duo into a solid five-piece, the band now pulls it off with impressive passion and precision.