on 20 January 2008
Pink Mountaintops - There is so much to write about this little band from Canada as the press has not shone upon them (yet).
This album opens up with the seemingly reflective acoustic 'Comas' with a nod to AC/DC. Next Track, Cold Criminals sounds like the hot fuzz of The Velvet Underground with Mc Bean sounding like a howling Jim Morrison and the guitar sounding like a velvet beat, a definite nod to the Velvets. Pink Mountaintops find their dark side here, from here on in, its dirge.
New drug queens is possibly the most youthful tune on the album, sounding like a teenage rant, 'tell yer mamma gonna stay out late tonight'.
Slaves is up next and comes in at a near hefty 9 minutes long. This is my personal favourite track on the album. This has a dark tune which would rival any that of Joy Division's back catalogue. McBean laments to break free and this works perfectly with the accompanying 1-2, 1-2 drumming, 3 chord guitar and a tamborine with a synth keeping the tone dark enough for McBean.
Next up is, plastic man, you're the devil which opens not unlike a folk/pop track. This is his protest song on axis. Listen close to this little gem.
Lord, let us shine comes in next sounding very out of place with heavy synth and a growling Pink Mountaintops then works into a sort of harmony. Heavily infuenced by Beck which is very noticeable on this track. This track would not be out of place on Beck's - Mellow Gold. This track is immense, very leftfield, great.
To conclude Axis, we have how can we get free. For any VU fan, this track would easily slide onto VU - 3. Listen, and you'll know what I mean. This track is about simplicity, stripping it all down and laying in front of you. Truly beautiful. Thank you Pink Mountaintops for this.
"Canadian bad-ass" may sound like a contradiction in terms but in the case of Stephen McBean - taking a break from his day-job in much-lauded psych-rockers, Black Mountain - it's an apt description of the man, who references the likes of Johnny Cash and AC/DC in his lyrics and draws on a myriad musical influences.
Depending on who you believe, Pink Mountaintops is either McBean's solo project or - as his myspace site would have it - a full band with 23 (!) members. Either way, Axis of Evol is not as wholly addictive as the Black Mountain record, which didn't leave my stereo for literally months after its release; nonetheless, this is still commendably subversive stuff best listened to in a darkened room through a pair of those massive oversized headphones.