Black Mountain

IV

Jagjaguwar

Mar 29, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Let's pause first for a moment to admire that cover! It looks like something right out of your dad's box of water-damaged classic rock vinyl, pulled from between AC/DC's Dirty Deeds and Styx's Pieces of Eight. This is an album cover that your 13-year-old self could have spent hours mythologizing over, with its surreal mishmash of striking imagery that's equally likely to be full of hidden meaning or full of crap. Damn, they just don't make them like this anymore. Andfor the first timea Black Mountain record has been paired with artwork that fully and accurately encompasses the contents therein. 

IV is a return to the sprawling retro-rock of 2008's In the Future: an hour-long journey through hard, heavy prog, vintage synths, and lyrics that conjure space-race era imagery, all coming together to complete its vintage '70s feelall the way down to that Zeppelin-esque, Sabbath-ian Roman numeral title. Three songs clock in at around nine minutes: "Mothers of the Sun" churns ahead, slow but steady, over a heaving riff as Amber Webber and Stephen McBean trade vocals; "(Over and Over) the Chain" is nearly three full minutes of planetarium light show synthesizers before the guitars kick in; "Space to Bakersfield" is an expansive, druggy haze. These mini-epics are the record's tent poles, but Black Mountain isn't beyond the shorter, more playful blasts of rock 'n' roll found on their singles and self-titled debut. (See: "Florian Saucer Attack," "Constellations.") Also of note is the eyebrow-raising "Cemetery Breeding," a surprisingly uptempo song with downer lyrics about a tryst among tombstones. These faster-paced songs bring up the clip, which does occasionally crawl at points. Despite this, IV is a compelling rockerand among the best of the larger Black Mountain Army collective's releases. (www.blackmountainarmy.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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