Black Mountain Goes Back To “In The Future”

Trying to describe Black Mountain’s music is like copywriting for one of those Ben and Jerry’s ice cream mash ups.  In some ways, it’s easier to imagine what peanut butter cups mushed with cherry pie might taste like than it is to get a handle on a band that can sound like Sly and Family Stone jamming with Black Sabbath.  Okay, they’ve got big, slow, gooey riffs, and when Stephen McBean and Amber Webber get that call and response thing going, you do indeed think of Sly calling out and Ozzy responding. But that was then — on their superb 2005 eponymous debut.  “In the Future” is more like a mashup of Deep Purple with the Human Switchboard, and I mean that as a compliment.### This is a heavy album, Ummagumma meets PJ Harvey.  I miss the light, Tom Herman-esque guitar playing of the first album, and it seems a step farther in the direction of darkness than the rosy alpenglow of their Pink Mountaintops sister band/offshoot.  It’s been a while since I’ve cheerfully signed up to listen to prog rock, as this often is.  ###  But when it’s good — when the Blood Meridian rhythm section of Joshua Wells (drums) and Matthew Camirand (bass) crank up the bottom, and Amber Weber’s voice soars, as it does on “Queens Will Play,” and Stephen McBean leads the incantation — these guys tower over the coastal fjords of British Columbia, casting their shadow on the entire Vancouver scene.   ### I miss the pure fun of “Druganaut,” and “No Satisfaction,” and “Bicycle Man” from their earlier work.  But I can’t get “In The Future” out of the rotation on my iPod.  This is more nourishing than a bowl full of Phish Food. 

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