Buck Meek: Haunted Mountain (4AD) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Buck Meek

Haunted Mountain


Sep 13, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

A Haunted Mountain seems an odd locale for joviality. However, Buck Meek is the kind of artist whose gentle voice cracks and country warmth could convince the most barren of places to sprout with new life as it welcomes the sun’s embrace. So it only makes sense that the title track on Meek’s third solo album—and most recent release since his group, Big Thief, released the acclaimed Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You—is haunted not by terrors, but a shimmering glimpse of life-giving transcendence. It’s the kind of place you want to stay as long as you can, and Meek tries, claiming he’s “never coming down again.” On this Haunted Mountain, Meek, aided by his folk-rocking instrumentalists, delivers his fullest and most complete project to date.

Where Meek’s previous album, Two Saviors, sounded like the spare sounds of an informal front porch jam at twilight, Haunted Mountain offers bona fide rockers (“Cyclades,” “Undae Dunes”) alongside the expected whispery folk ballads (“Lullabies,” “Secret Side”). At times, Meek’s tender warble is unable to keep up with the rich rhythms and boisterous guitars, which steal the show on “Cyclades” and “Mood Ring.” However, the textured depth and vivid storytelling throughout the album are able to carry the weight. Meek’s singing still shines on the softer tracks, where each word crackles through smiling lips about love-filled scenes and blissful memories.

In moments, Meek’s twinkly-eyed infatuation with infatuation registers as overly quaint, like when he offers over-earnest, adolescent love notes on “Paradise” (“Tell me how you got heaven in your eyes”). Yet, just a few seconds later, the same song captures the beautiful fragility of love in harmonies as delicate as sugar glass. We often experience the joys of new love or new life in this way, like they’re moments away from shattering into a million pieces. So we cherish it, adorn it; we climb life’s summits, and promise to never come down again. Like each of us, Meek knows we must descend from the mountaintop sooner or later, so he sings lullabies and lets the sun shine on bare skin as long as he can. (www.buckmeekmusic.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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