Black Mountain – “IV” (2016)

Label: Jagjaguwar

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Fuzzy guitars, spacey keyboards, drawling vocals are all ingredients on Black Mountain‘s “IV” album. They seem to have displayed their influences prominently on their album cover. With a Led Zeppelin style title, and collage album artwork that, to me, would not be out of place on an early Pink Floyd production. While a cross between those two artists does not do properly describe the Black Mountain sound, 70s era rock and synth experimentation is where “IV” spends its time. But even that is not quite right, as the band do not sound as though they are trying to be retro. They call themselves Spaced Age Rock’n’Roll, and that sounds about right, though the band’s personal interests may be an even better description – “Fuzz, Wah, Synths, Shakin’ booty”. Opening the album is the magnificent “Mothers of the Sun”. You can watch the music video, it will take you through all of the aspects that you will hear on the album, from atmospheric progressive rock to crunchy, rhythmic rock. It, along with “(Over and Over) the Chain” and “Space to Bakersfield”, are all over eight minutes in length and they give the band a format that allows them to explore the edges of their talent. The other shorter songs are good too, but with extra space in the songs the band seem to be better at expressing their musical ideas. “Florian Saucer Attack” is one of those shorter songs and it has an animated music video, it has a quirky ending with an alien preparing to make a meal of a human, but all of the songs have personality. I like “Defector” best out of the shorter tracks, it has a funky guitar over an incessant beat with mysterious synths and laid back vocals. Black Mountain are Stephen McBean (Guitar/Vocals), Amber Webber (Vocals), Jeremy Schmidt (Keyboards), Colin Cowan (Bass/Keyboards) and Joshua Wells (Drums/Keys). Vocally the male and female parts blend well with each other and with the musical groove. Nothing sounded out of place, so I had to concentrate if I wanted to notice the change in vocalists. Black Mountain know how to put together awesome songs, though I like their longer works best, it is all good here.

Rating – 87/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Mothers of the Sun
  2. Florian Saucer Attack
  3. Defector
  4. You Can Dream
  5. Constellations
  6. Line Them All Up
  7. Cemetery Breeding
  8. (Over and Over) The Chain
  9. Crucify Me
  10. Space to Bakersfield

 

Line Up

  • Stephen McBean – Lead vocals, backup vocals, guitars, claps, synth, percussion, keyboards
  • Amber Webber – Lead vocals, claps
  • Jeremy Schmidt – Synths, bass synth, sequences, hammond, vocoder, mellotron
  • Arjan Miranda – Bass, bass synth, guitar, bass pedals, ebow guitar
  • Joshua Wells – Drums, percussion, claps, piano, synth, rhodes piano, backup vocals, sequences, bass synth, phase rhodes, wurlitzer

 

Links

facebook.com/blackmountainofficial

twitter.com/_blackmountain_

blackmountainarmy.com