There are times when I listen to Black Mountain IV and I simply cannot believe that it has only been around since 2016.  I seem to have been blasting it out for decades longer than that.  I have a whole legion of memories all hazed up in its’ grooves.

F’rinstance I only have to crank up the jittery sugar rushing rock of ‘Florian Saucer Attack’ to be taken back to that time when Gregg, Spaceman, Ads and I made that rope swing over the pool on the river.  I can remember the shock of the cold water and that riff, loud but tinny on our crap speakers as I surfaced, laughing, shrieking.

The emphatically martial staccato synth pop of ‘You Can Dream’ makes me think back to the VW Beetle and that fuck awful row we had, that blessedly/cussedly silent drive home over the moors that she hated and was so welcome to me*.

‘Defector’ was the only thing I could bear to listen to last time I was all up in … actually, that story isn’t for here; sorry folks.  But am I the only one who noticed that it steals its’ melody wholesale from Pink Floyd’s ‘Young Lust’? thought so.

The insanely classy ‘Mothers Of The Sun’, stately and frenzied in equal measure has definitely sound tracked some of my more memorable hang gliding trips.  Those chords just grab me so hard that stopped listening to it in the car on the way down because I kept drumming rather than steering, riffing rather than gearing. 

I can’t remember when it was but ‘Constellations’ churn and fuzzy sneer is the sound of my getting inadvisably invertebrated one time.  I can’t remember exactly when it was but the fact there was strong daylight in my memory as I was lying there on the floor listening to it.  Don’t judge me! It was comfortable down there, some hitherto unexplored acoustic quality in the carpet made everything sound, so heavy and free; relenetless and dusty.

The folky ‘Line Them All Up’ with its’ great vocal from Amber Webber and fancy pants instrumental flourishes draws more of a blank from the bank.  It never picked up any layers from my life, maybe the purity of it forbade it. 

The Bowie via Placebo via Maz Manson scary monstering of ‘Cemetery Breeding’ just hits me back to good times, white thighs, laughing and singing along loudly to the ‘fucking in the graveyard’ line.  It tastes just like vodka orange and everyone trying to talk at the same time. 

Then as the final 30% of IV gets all Black Mountain Floyd the memory train roars off down the tracks leaving me in the here and now, leaving me grooving to the band’s unmatched ability to sound classic and contemporary in equal measure.  My favourite tonight** is ‘(Over And Over) The Chain’, Floyd chords, a Stone Roses shuffle-beat and a sublime Black Mountain melody, it can’t be beat. 

There’s an appropriate plea for salvation in the almost-country-prog of ‘Crucify Me’ dripping from every vibration, before ‘Space To Bakersfield’ just sits you down and wraps you in it’s big heavy, melancholy blanket for your own psychic safety as it heads off into the long, funky nacht. 

Great assembly of back up musicians here.

Does it matter that I just invented each and every one of those memories? of course it doesn’t, IV just sounds like great music you’ve wanted to live with all your puny life.  The fact that you haven’t is sort of one of those big irrelevant-y things, you should have. 

Does it matter that classic-sounding as IV is, it’s a relatively new LP? of course it doesn’t, it’s a bright red rock rocket of hope.  It is a monumental thing, sculpted in the right spirit of joy and beauty, an exploration of form and content; not a cobbled-together aping of others’ past glories.  Oh and it fucking rocks. 

One final note here the production on IV, by Randall Dunn and the band is some of the very best modern rock production I’ve heard.  This is a great sounding record, warm below, crisp up top^*. 

Enough.

926 Down. 

PS: one final final note here, I love Black Mountain, have done since the early days but why, oh why – first LP excepted, is their cover art so consistently poo? Is it some sort of celestial handicapping system that the Gods have imposed upon us? Why?

This is so good!

*or at least until she remarked that it sounded like Big Country and I fell in love with her all over again.

**and surely what better marker is there of a classic rock LP than to have one’s favourite track shift, almost nightly depending on whim, wham and want.

^*much like myself.

17 thoughts on “Bright Red Rock Rocket Of Hope

  1. You already put me onto the Black Mountain train a while ago. You know I like this stuff. Keep it coming. The “live” gig is really good. Off our very own CBC broadcast. How did that happen? I guess it doesn’t matter as long as it did happen.

  2. Really enjoyed this one, fella- great review. I believe it was our pal JHubner who convinced me to check this one out after feeling a wee bit disconnected from them over Wilderness Heart (which has since grown on me) and I loved it straight off the bat. Top marks for this one.

    1. Thanks J. The new one will have to go some to equal this.

      I’ve ordered Destroyer but I’m not too impressed with the tracks I’ve heard from it so far.

      1. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard, but I’ve definitely needed some Black Mountain. I have been largely unimpressed with this year’s releases.

  3. Such an awesome band and album. I love them completely.
    Funny enough I had tickets given to me to see Dandy Warhols but originally had planned to see Blsck Mountain. (I hate when Toronto gets multiple shows I want to see on the same night)
    I was with my wife or I might have tried to squeeze in both shows.

    Cool review and memories. The only thing is I assume you have the UK album cover.
    The rest is the world has the credits that list ‘Boppin – hand claps, zero one data one two one two’s, Tim Horton’s runner, bong water replenisher’

      1. So would you wear a Skate core flamenco outfit in your Skate core flamenco outfit?

        Is there any truth to the rumour that the back up bongo player is banned in 13 countries due to his hypnotic dancing? Apparently women were in need of medical care.

    1. Thank you so much Bruce. Yeah, inner life – no outward signs of life at all!

      Good point, I think she’s got a really good voice. If you’ve not heard it I think you’d dig their first self-titled album, there are some nifty VU influences in there.

  4. I just watched the Mothers of the Sun video. Hell, what a throwback video. A totally different sound that’s for sure!
    Cheers Sir!

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