Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Black Mountain: In the Future


Black Mountain: In the Future

Label:Jagjaguwar
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2008
Genre:Indie Rock

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 1/23/2008

Does Black Mountain mean it, or is it camp? On the Vancouver quintet's eponymous 2005 debut, sartorial affectation, outsider disdain, and crusted nostalgia gelled into an unexpected indie-rock sensation. Frontman/guitarist Stephen McBean and co-vocalist Amber Webber passionately castigated American warmongering even as the music time-warped through well-worn 1970s genre portals: heavy-handed protest rock, Sabbath heavy metal, psychedelic rock, and imitation disco ("No Hits"). Retro, contemporary, or both? It was impossible to say, and given its members' involvement with satellite projects at varying levels of name recognition, there was little reason to necessarily expect anything more.

A combustive, royal roar of an album, In the Future insists that Black Mountain does, indeed, mean it--mashing the influences flouted on the debut into its own special brand of indignant-hippie napalm. The strutting "Wucan" rides Jeremy Schmidt's dilating synth cycle and Matthew Camirand's three-note bass figure into a fiery guitar cataclysm. McBean pulls a high-register, lighter-waving Neil Young for "Stay Free," organs ringing under the overamplified acoustic chords as his sentiments straddle the picturesque and the deeply pessimistic: "Bodies at sundown/ Stiff on their knees/ Beautiful ponies/ So beautiful, they'll kill us all/ Let's hide ourselves/ Together down under the stairs." "Evil Ways" makes a biblical plea for world leaders to change their, you know, with sludgy, back-jacking axes shoving through greed-mongering and gamesmanship to reveal neon whorls of flashing, quicksand keyboard.

Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter