"Mount Eerie" CD/LP
Olympia, Wash 98507
Feb 3 - 9 2003
listening to Mount Eerie, you can't really think about anything
else. The music is so powerfully there - coming at you -
that your mind can't concentrate on any diversions. It's as if a
train is rocketing towards you at a hundred miles an hour - there's no
time to let your mind slip, or your fate will be sealed.
Likewise, when the sounds of a distant train horn are heard
accompanying the beating drums of "the Sun," all you can
really do is drop your jaw in awe.
But that's how all good epics should be, isn't it?
Five tracks long, Mount Eerie is The Microphones'
follow-up to last year's The Glow, Pt. 2. Named after Mt.
Erie, the mountain on Fidalgo Island, where Phil Elvrum grew
up, the five-part release is a concept album of sorts. Each of
its five tracks tells a part of the story. It starts off with
"The Sun" (the liner notes explain: "The Sun: In which
the story begins, where you are born and run away from death up the
mountain in fear and are watched by a ball of fire.") The
track commences with a rumbling, shuddering drum beat that follows the
subject (a.k.a. you) running up the mountain. You can imagine
yourself desperately jetting through the tree branches and bushes that
block your path - recklessly trying to escape death. Onslaughts of
horns back the drums, creating a powerful, chaotic atmosphere.
Then, all of the sudden, the drums drop out, only to be suddenly
replaced by Elvrum's confronting vocals and a beautifully
hesitant, almost jumpy guitar part. Eventually, the guitar and
vocals are washed out with an overpowering layer of feedback noise,
only to be brought back into context with the endearing "Solar
System," a short little number that takes a break from the
album's lengthy opener - a reference to Elvrum's previous
albums, if you will.
To give away the rest of Elvrum's story would seem like
something of a sacrilege - I'd rather keep it as a secret until you go
and check it out yourself. Though peppered with immense amounts
of non-accessibility, including bouts of noisy feedback and slow,
non-melodic drum parts, Mount Eerie is still perfectly
engaging. With the perfect balance between "pop" and
"non-pop," this is the best (and least self-absorbed)
concept album to come out in ages. You have no excuse; go out
and buy Mount Eerie right now.
5 songs, distributed by the
label, released 2003]