JagJaguwar release Black Mountain’s newest slab of ferocious and psychedelic hard rock. Available on CD, black double vinyl LP and very limited white double vinyl LP, IV borrows the tough template of 1970s hard rock, but also blends a jam-band mentality and some analogue synth worship. Here, burnt out organ riffs and choral vocals meet extended improv.
6/10 Robin Staff review, 29 March 2016
Black Mountain, ever failing to clinch the exact thing they want, have always been a hybrid of old rock’s touchstones. With the melodic bits of prog acts, the synth additives of a kosmische outfit, the rigid but ruthless structure of early doom merchants and classic psychedelic solos that would phonetically be written something like owowoauifsgWOwakrawroawroawawoWaoohohoOowowoowoaooaooaooaoaOHOHO, they sound forever uncertain, lost in space next to a lot of really good planets. “Mothers of the Sun”, the first tune from new record ‘IV’, is a nine minute epic, but it never once coalesces into the piece it seeks to be. May I just add: that’s why it’s fun.
If you thought they were being serious, for a moment there, they continue the record with “Florian Saucer Attack”, a punk-shivering number with a bee-buzzing synth that meets somewhere between Sleater-Kinney and Blur. I’m pleased to say that in the battle between Black Mountain caring and not giving a shit, the latter wins, and ‘IV’ becomes psychedelia as a gleeful, collaging mess. “Defector” squelches in textural synth sludge, wahing guitar riffs and hawing hard rock vocals, all of them together sounding woefully uncool and totally slick. “Constellations” is proud of cowbell. You get the point.
The further into the record I get the more I start grumbling things like “the audacity!” and “for real?” as if anyone can hear me -- “Cemetery Breeding” is somewhere between a folk rock murder ballad and a psych cover of Kaiser Chiefs’ “Love’s Not A Competition”. The whole record is seasoned with a general grandiosity that the band hopes will tether it together, which it doesn’t, but therein lies the fun of listening to it. Oh my.
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- IV by Black Mountain
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