Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reviews:: Mt. Eerie Lost Wisdom

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It must be an amazing experience to sit down with your musical inspiration and hear them soulfully recreate your work. The emotions – acceptance, awe, pride – must pulse through your veins, making it impossible to sit still. And when it comes to Phil Elverum recording with Julie Doiron (and her current band mate Fred Squire) it’s even more shocking when you consider how simple and clean the resulting songs are.

Elverum lo-fi style has long been known use layer upon layer and even though Doiron’s solo work has become more stripped down as of late, she’s a fan of sludge and distortion. So hearing the two harmonize over the barest of threads, as if they are huddled around a fire trying to keep warm, is surprisingly powerful. Vocal lines are emitted like frozen ropes, piercing the silence of the cold dark night or grey morning chill (especially when Doiron let's her voice trail off to end lines on tracks like Why?).

I know nothing, now that I know you, your fog is wrapped around me.

There are moments of musical warmth – like the beautiful harmonies on the amazingly simple acoustic track You Swam, Go On (who fans may remember being called As Good As It Got) or the spiritual choral harmonies of the oddly constructed Voice in Headphones (it takes lyrics from Bjork and plays almost like a tribute) – but for the most part, the songs are desolate and focus on the purest emotions. Elverum lets Julie and Fred take the spotlight – Squire’s meticulous, well placed notes are as important to the songs as the vocal collages Julie and Phil create – allowing the New Brunswick-ers to transform the Anacortes coast lines in their own vision.

It’s a brief 10 songs, most only two-minutes in length, but any longer would have lessened the impact the songs deliver. The emotions are never over thought – Elverum resisted the temptation to over think the confusing clouds hovering in his mind – and if the songs pushed on and on, the clarity would have been lost. If I Knew… is a minute and a half, but hearing Doiron’s double tracked vocals and a few strums of Squire’s electric frame a thought, and the intensity sears.

The same can be said about beautiful, O My Heart. As their voices tremble, you picture two shaking lovers intertwined, hoping to make it to morning’s light for a fresh start. And as the album closes with the stark beauty of Grave Robbers, you start to see the sun peak through the darkness, and think they might just make it through.

Posted at 8:45 AM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 10:44 AM, Blogger theneedledrop did sayeth:

Great review! It really is a good album, and I'm going to see the three of these guys perform this coming Friday. I'm so excited!


At 10:46 AM, Blogger ack did sayeth:

Now I am very, very jealous.


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