Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Mountain: "Into the Future": Music Review.

One of the leading contenders for our decade's innovators? Like their debut, also reviewed by me, I still argue that the band has room to grow. This second LP shows their maturity. The male and female vocals blend and twist around each other appealingly and sinously. The bass-and-drums combo can provide solid support that ranges from Zep-stomp to gentle balladry. While I predict their best music, luckily, will still be to come, this album as with their first one, grows on you.

It's taken me a while to get the feel of it. Working with early 70s influences, not only on the epic "Bright Lights," but on the other tracks (and if you can find the limited edition bonus disc, there's more evidence on its first track, all on "Bastards," more of a Paisley Underground Opal-Rain Parade-Dream Syndicate mood crossed with a bit of Jesus & Mary Chain), the bridging of 1980s college radio's neo-psych with 70s classic rock makes for a clever mix. I'd like to hear the band, as with Oneida, expand into their own take on Krautrock and more space rock, as with Farflung. What I continue to find this Vancouver band's strongest element: the voices, and their layered production.

On top of flute and harmonium, keyboards and processed effects, you can hear how the folkier, more wistful aura of West Coast late-60s sounds carries into the heavier delivery of more raunch and thunder. Yet, the band keeps the pace off-beat, and shifts the songs and their order on the album to stave off sameness. It's an intelligent record, not that commercial, yet not that obscure, and it deserves a wider audience.

(Posted on Amazon today, conflating the bonus disc limited edition review with the one for the single disc.)

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