6/10 Mike Staff review, 24 April 2014
Black Mountain man Steve McBean is back with another of album under his Pink Mountaintops alias, featuring the usual brace of high-calibre buddies backing him up. For the most part it's a mishmash of plodding indie rock and crunchy psychedelic post-punk, but there are a few notable moments. Opener 'Ambulance City' kicks things off really positively, a chugging bit of warm kraut-psych that's got shades of Hookworms and Deerhunter and Warm Digits to it, repetitive and pulsating but with a punky loucheness too.
The momentum gained here is all but lost mere moments later on 'The Second Summer of Love' however, a yowling Nick Cave-esque grunge-strut. The second highlight is just round the corner, though. 'Through All the Worry' is a simple bit of '90s indiepop with the casual charm of Teenage Fanclub and a shade of hazy early Oasis anthemicism and a J Mascis guitar solo that I was going to describe as a "J Mascis guitar solo" even before I realised that it was the man himself. Really well judged, uncomplicated summer indie rock from the Bob Pollard school, but sadly the last of the album's inspired moments.
The next couple of tracks are a couple of sub-Bunnymen plodders, decent enough but nothing to write home about, before we get to 'North Hollywood Microwaves'. This is the surprise of the album alright, and a song of two halves. First we get some pretty cool swaggering post-punk with subtle sax tootlings, so far so Psychedelic Furs, but then for the second half of the song a girl rapper turns up for a childish and x-rated freestyle. It's pretty gross. Sample lyric: "...Won't you fill up my slot? AIDS is the only money I've got and I'm spending it like.../Rod Stewart and me at the hospital, getting our tums pumped because they're both full/Both full of cum yeah we had to get us some, fucking gallons, gallon after gallon..."
She goes on for a good couple of minutes like the blue-tongued offspring of Kimya Dawson and Peaches and Moon Unit Zappa's 'Valley Girl'. It's pretty fucking stupid but presumably that's the point, and at least it provides a "What The Actual Fuck?!" break from the quagmire of plodding post-Oasis dadrock McBean gets caught up in for the rest of the second half of the album, but in this context it sticks out awkwardly, a brief and poorly judged flash of bad taste on an album which couldn't otherwise be described as "edgy". It's like if you went to see Elbow and that Jimmy Goodwin lad got his cock out for half a song right in the middle and then put it away and got on with the rest of the show like nothing had happened. It's that experience in album form. There's a 7" worth of really good songs here though.
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