8.15.2005

mount sticky

I have the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song stuck in my head... it says I must perform zany antics!!!

Gave the new Mount Eerie release a listen last night. I enjoyed it, though I wasn't blown away. Not like I was expecting to be blown away on the first listen - these things take time to sink in, especially with Mr. Elverum behind the scenes.

Okay, so... stripped instrumentation: I was not anticipating that move. Most of the songs on the album simply feature acoustic guitar and random drums. Only Phil on vocals this time. The songs seem more insular than those on all of The Microphones releases. That is to say, it's not the usual cinematic experience you'd get with, say, Mount Eerie (the album), where the album may well be one long song in itself; this whole album is more traditionally structured. Unification through instrumentation and thematic material moreso than production and song structure. Easily some brilliant moments (the tail end of the second track is GLORY I'm telling you). And it's more obvious than ever that Phil is the master of unorthodox drum/percussion tracks. He sets up the most bizarre, unlikely grooves over and over, every weird song, which is quite the feat considering that's not usually where the innovation happens in any pop record. Random. Oh yeah, and the lyrics... well, um... yeah. They go from the usual Elverum musings ("The world is in me and I am in the world") to totes meta ("Knowing no one will understand these songs/I try to sing them clearer/Even though no one has ever asked/What does Mount Eerie mean?" also see: "No Flashlight means there's another world and it's inside this one/No Flashlight means the lake at night." Ohhhh!).

One main gripe: now that Phil seems to be going with a slightly more traditional approach to song conception, his decidedly unkosher (see: out-of-tune) voice doesn't pair up with the music quite as well as it used to. True, he obviously has no aspirations to be played on the radio (save Ann Arbor's college indie station, on which I actually have heard a Mount Eerie tune... weird), but I still feel like the songs would jive better with some more standard vocals.

So then, no verdict (no lake! no moon!) on No Flashlight just yet. But I get the overall impression that Elverum is only starting to get a feel for his new Mount Eerie outfit. This album is clearly only the beginning of something much bigger.

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