4 Nov 2016

Black Mountain: "IV"

The prominent Canadian band continues to experiment, but seem to have written their master thesis
With a few albums behind them, Black Mountain have never shyed away from blurring the already undefinable lines between drugged out indie rock and finicky stoner rock. Their latest effort, the fourth album IV, again shows that the group are constantly experimenting with their sound, while the half-psychedelic ramblings which is the core of their style remains largely the same.

Through a simple soundscape they craft music that isn't quite layered or thick enough to be true stoner rock, but again combines pseudo-psychedeliac riffs with effects and wavy organs and synths to create that mix of rock music's old school and the modern semblances of their musical heritage.

"rough distorted guitars let loose a simple, stoned out riff to the sound of singer Amber Webber's vocal deliberations..."

Mothers of the Sun starts off the album in a slow and fragile way, where rough distorted guitars let loose a simple, stoned out riff to the sound of singer Amber Webber's vocal deliberations and an equally sparesome organ key. Florian Saucer Attack, in turn, plays like a surfing soundtrack to a 50s black n white sci-fi flick played by The Cramps or a similar group.

With Defector, the by now seasoned group show their chops with a bluesy piece of melancholia which has all their trademarks: The layered vocals, lofty, calculated guitar picking and meticulous use of effects against a wide backdrop consisting of held chords, round bass and sparing drums.

IV is sophisticated, with no effort wasted and no filler. The whole ordeal is a wholesome experience, immensely well thought through from beginning to end, but not without a spot of playful glee to keep things interesting. The combination of Webber and McBean's vocal performances present a variation of style that plays to their advantage in a scene ripe with good acts. Their offerings don't so much span a wide expanse of tonalities, but rather their lyrics are performed with an almost reciting delivery, lending to their music a kind of religious importance.

While their previous albums in themselves pose endearing music establishments, IV elevates them to a leading position. Their latest album is grandiose, unexpected, but presents itself neither as a deep-felt nor merely platonic effort; Rather, it is someplace in between with little distance to either, making it vastly appealing to both fans of obscurity and popularity. Though Black Mountain keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt joked about calling the album Our Strongest Material To Date, the sentiment isn't as outlandish as it may seem as IV is definitely their most concise and polished record with its huge attention to depthful detail.


Released in 2016 by Jagjaguwar


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