Black Mountain opens 2008 with its sophomore effort ‘In the Future’ to a population of music enthusiasts long awaiting the release of something worthwhile. We enjoyed 2007 as a year that gave us memorable albums and great live acts.
We didn’t, however, find some of our underground favorites release sounds akin to those first efforts that lead us to fall in love with them in the first place. An undeniable exception finally emerges with Black Mountain, fully restoring our faith with its new album, ‘In the Future.’
Black Mountain fans are finally reaping the joys of that unique sound with this second album. It is just another sign to what wonderful things music will do for us underground enthusiasts throughout 2008.
A bluesy twang in each guitar riff combined with a matured progression of sound is evident throughout. Songs like the opener, ‘Stormy High,’ are a perfect amalgam of a head-banger’s delight with its strong beats and a melody connoisseur’s choice track with its well-thought-out setup of sound. With a chanting choir and a scaling harmonic up and down the fret-board, it’s the prime song to open up the rest of the album and leave us revved up for more.
Not far off is the ethereal ‘Tyrants’ which, apart from featuring the mystical voice of Amber Webber as a key feature, is a key track that showcases the band as the multi-talented group it is. ‘Tyrants’ blasts us off into oblivion with a mid-track tirade of powerful Rock ‘n’ Roll. Peppered with harmonic vocals and a pleading ballad, evident in inspirational tracks like ‘Stay Free,’ you get a clear sense that Black Mountain is made of sheer talent.
All the same, beware of ‘Bright Lights.’ Another transport song, the droning organ sound and interjection of distorted guitar quips captivate and trap you. Unless you have a solid 17 minutes of brainpower you’re willing to commit to guitars berating in and out of auditory comprehension, save it for later.
Fans of bands like The Pixies squealed and hollered with delight when band bassist, Kim Deal, came out from her cigarette-hazed corner and sang songs or harmonized with frontman Frank Black. Black Mountain has its own diamond in the rough with its token female band-mate, Webber.
Singularly taking on ‘Queens Will Play,’ her voice is masked in a fog of electronic keyboard chord progressions and a plucked guitar string, yet it pierces through poignantly and vividly throughout the song. The steady beat recalls some drug-induced to-and-fro swaying and transports the listener from an otherworldly experience to a 30-second explosion of guitars and keys.
A welcome look into what else the band has to offer, ‘In the Future’ may still remain a secondary effort to the shock in which its first and self-titled album left us. Regardless, the vast knowledge and brilliant usage of various instruments, wielded expertly by this relatively new band of Canadian musicians, still screams for constant CD rotation for the next couple months.