Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tue 14 Sep 2010
From Vancouver they cometh, these kaleidoscopic rockers, wielding influences like King Crimson, Pentagram and ‘the house blowing up in the desert at the end of Zabriskie Point.’ Such variegated touchstones and many more – from jalapeno salsa to New Order – form the bedrock of Black Mountain’s third long-player Wilderness Heart, out this month on Jagjaguwar.
Helmed by singer and guitarist Stephen McBean – also known for his alt-pop explorations under the guise of Pink Mountaintops – Black Mountain also comprises Amber Webber (vocals), Matt Camirand (bass), Jeremy Schmidt (keyboards) and Josh Wells (drums).
Their heavy, anthemic alt-rock is equal parts mainstream and underground; for every tour with Coldplay (they opened for Martin et al in 2005) or Hollywood soundtrack (their song ‘Stay Free’ featured on Spiderman 3), there’s a Destroyer split-single or a timely reminder that the band all still hold down day jobs. (Several work for Insite, an organisation that supports the local homeless, drug-addicted and mentally ill).
The Canadian quintet’s music is similarly underpinned by contradictions: one minute they’re issuing acoustic lullabies, (‘Sadie’); the next they’re unleashing psychedelic wig-outs (the title track). McBean has described Wilderness Heart as the band’s most metal and most folk oriented record so far. (The speedball riffage and vocal melodrama of ‘Let Spirits Ride’ and the tambourine-weaving harmonies of ‘Buried by the Blues’ respectively support these claims).
Whether it’ll scale the critical heights of 2008’s Polaris award-shortlisted In The Future remains to be seen: either way, it’s fair to say that Oran Mor is set to rock.