Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rock n roll is the drug

Everywhere you look there are mixed reviews of Steve McBean's new band/ side-project: Black Mountain - who are Matthew Camirand, Stephen McBean, Jeremy Schmidt, Amber Webber and Joshua Wells. While not entirely subject to distain, it has been criticised for promising the world in folk, jazz, krautrock, and space-rock; while instead delivering on nothing more than a prog-rock soundtrack to a film about free love in the sixties - that's what sixties music is for guys. Everett True isn't convinced. But really, has he lived inside this album like I have for two weeks? No, he hasn't. He's too occupied with M Ward to be fair. (Not that I can blame him: If I had that album, i'd probably be listening to it compulsively too). He's also excused because i've just finished reading his frankly excellent Saints article/ interview in the new issue of Loose Lips Sink Ships. I don't know if it has any connection with the Plan B Magazine, but it shares a few of the same writers - It is really worth the money, so check it out...I'm considering whether or not to purchase The Black Mountain LP on vinyl now. You know, so as to fully appreciate this earthy, grainy, scuzzed out rock opera in all it's glory. Yes, it's all very sad how i'm obessed with this record. However, do I love it for all the wrong reasons? I excuse it for having a couple of sub-standard songs, and I know there are other bands making music like this; possibly even better music than this, but until I hear it for myself why shouldn't I live in ignorance?

Steve McBean is referential in all the right ways; i'll run through a list of bands for you to salivate to: Can, Blue Cheer,Palace,Black Sabbath even Simply Saucer and VU. I suppose if I had to summarise the sound of this album I'd perhaps compare it to William Oldham fronting Blue Cheer. The largely non-committal reviews for this album are united in one way: They don't recall my favourite track on the album. Now, at first, I kept thinking that this must be for a reason, but now i'm just absolutely perplexed and outraged that "Set Us Free" isn't given it's OWN review. It has the same stoner-rock, slacker tone as the rest of the album, but it's also somehow different: sprawling, unhinged and drawing on the power of a caphony of organ sounds and guitars that are somehow offset and enriched with Steve McBean and Amber Webber's vocals. It has soul, and the chemistry between Steve McBean and Amber Webber is a drug in itself. Wonderous.

Black Mountain - Set Us Free

Click here to view their website, and visit Jagjaguwar to buy the album.


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