19 May 2014

Pink Mountaintops - Get Back

As some of you may know, every now and then I will pick an album just for the cover; this is not the most accurate or sophisticate of way to find new music.  I have had some real turkeys along the way.  However I was just caught by the image.  After a check I found that this is a band from Canada and is the creation of one Stephen McBean.  Most of the members who are in the band also playing in Black Mountaintops and it also have in the past had members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Cold War Kids and others.  This is their fourth album and they have been going since 2003.  If I am honest it is not a band that I have heard of before and it was just by chance I came across the image.  It has a sort of 80's punk appeal to my mind, strange but exotic.  So that is the brief history lesson, let’s see how they sound.

"Ambulance City" starts off this album; it comes across as a strange combination of Neu, Holy Fuck and Fleetwood Mac.  There is a definite strange influence of styles and tastes on work from the off, every time they scream station to station I keep expecting Bowie's tone to appear on the album. It is a very energetic opening which starts the album off well. Next we have "The Second Summer Of Love" is a stomping track which comes across with an old school pink and indie vibe, imagine a more indie version of Killing Joke and that is where this song is heading - it is a strange beast of a song.  Whilst it is not exactly setting my soul on fire, it is still a decent start to the record.  "Through All The Worry" is another number that feels like a tribute in a way, you have a nod towards Foo Fighters and Britpop era Indie music; again there is nothing wrong with the song, but my heart is not all a flutter.

"Wheels" is the fourth track which starts off with a dark Country & Western vibe that is sort of popular in TV ad's at the moment and this song is reminiscence of some early Pixies songs and a bit of Alabama 3 as well, but without that manic and frantic mannerisms of Mr Black and co and the A3.  To be honest, it is just another song which is reminding me more of other bands.  "Sell Your Soul" is a weird little number, more of a classic rock feel going on here, a little bit of Replacements and maybe a bit of Elvis Costello; and again I am finding myself referencing a different set of bands again.  "North Hollywood Microwaves" is the sixth track on here and this is truly different - imagine if Björk fronted a bizarre punk band with a rap attitude, the band have decided that they have nothing to lose so they threw everything against a wall to see if it sticks. I really enjoyed this one for all the wrong reasons as it is different and off the edge so to speak, it is a brave number that makes me wonder where this has been hiding in the rest of the songs.

"Sixteen" has a old school punk vibe with that old school rock n roll vibe mixed in as well for good measure, it is not as attention grabbing as "North Hollywood Microwaves" but it is still a improvement for the album. However "New Teenage Mutilation" is not as good, aiming for Rocky Horror/David Bowie vibe but without half the talent of either.  "Shakedown" is a nice enough number which has a cracking solo near the end of the song; it saves the number over all as it was starting to lose my interest at one point.  Ending the album is "The Last Dance" which is also the longest track on the album as well.  With a fuzzy guitar and haunting opening, minimal drums every now and then that flows into a slow and brooding number, but you have to ask why was this held off till now? 

Overall I found this album both interesting and frustrating in equal measure.  Whilst there is no faulting the band's abilities and talent, I have to question some of the numbers here as being too close to being a tribute or just plain dull.  Especially when you have such numbers as "The Last Dance", "North Hollywood Microwaves" and "Ambulance City".  They have a talent here, but maybe the constant change of line-up makes it hard to get focus on any one number/style/route.  They need to decide what band they want to be, because they are doing everything and not making it easy for themselves.  Still an interest cover though.....

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

Top track - The Last Dance

You can purchase the album from Spotify here

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link for Deezer users

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