When I hear Stephen McBean’s slowly-picked A-minor guitar intro for “Stormy High,” I’m almost tricked into thinking it’s a cover of “Hell’s Bells,” but then the swing-time Blackmoresque groove kicks in, Amber Webber’s voice wails in from the angelic highs, the verse and the crunchy riff kicks in, and no, it’s not AC/DC at all. It’s Black Mountain, make no mistake. Are you one of the jaded masses who yawn, sweep your Oberstian bangs out of your eyes, and smirk at the amount of hits Black Mountain’s awarded online? Time to hang yourself with your own white belt, shmuck – Black Mountain deserve all the hype they’ve been given. There’s a reason why they’re Vancouver’s worldwide rulers of the indie-rock heap. Their sophomore album In The Future presents no less than ten reasons. The five Black Mountaineers effortlessly seesaw between stoner-rock and psychedelic influences and stretch the resulting sonic boundaries into downright prog-rock continuums without losing sight of the song at hand. Standout tracks include “Tyrants,” “Queens Will Play,” “Bright Lights” – shit, all of it, really. This is music for: thoughtful metalheads; tensed Blenz baristas on their last day of employment probation; your bitter ex-hippie parents; those who can equally love Battles, Yes, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jefferson Airplane, and Leafhound in the same record collection; and anyone who ever spent more than a minute gazing at the luscious burgundy curves of a vintage Gibson SG on the high display wall at Tom Lee Music, after stumbling downtown from a bong-sesh at Trout Lake Park. In The Future isn’t destined to be a Vancouver classic…it already is! That’s why it’s titled In The Future: the future may take its lessons from the past, but the future is definitely now.
Posted: May 6, 2008