Saturday, November 27, 2010
Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart LP (Jagjaguwar) JAG175
Things have evolved a bit with Stephen McBean and co. since we last heard them. We can attribute this in no small part due to outside producers extraordinaire D. Sardy (Oasis, Wolfmother) and Randall Dunn (Sun City Girls) being at the helm. First of all there's a sense of clarity throughout the record and the vocals for most part are very up front in the mix which makes for a more conventional rock listening experience than what we are used to getting with this crew. Secondly, there's tons of tasty guitar riffs all over the place which should appeal to more adventurous mainstream rock audiences without losing the indie rock hipster following that propelled them to international attention. The quiet moments are still there but seem to be overshadowed by the powerful and glorious rock sound. The key ingredients that keep this band interesting and instantly identifiable are McBean's obvious talent as a songwriter and Jeremy Schmidt's heavy doom-laden and sometimes psychedelic organ.
Overall, the listener will observe that there's less space rock and psychedelic and more Zeppelin, Sabbath and Purple in the bloodstream this time around. Will this third full length be the breakout album for this Vancouver quintet? I'm betting yes.