Mountaineers EP


This is one of those records that grabs hold of you pretty quickly through a unique approach. A subtle taste of the hillbilly in the band’s name is not wasted; if I had to reach for a quick way to tag this, I’d say it often sounds like 16 Horsepower meets Portishead. There’s a certain dolorous nature to the melodies on here that recalls that eerie hillside gospel, but the instrumentation is more along the lines of whizbang production — a lot of tightly-packed instruments sharing space with loops and electronic treatments.

I’m not sure if this cross-bred sound is what Mountaineers were going for, but it’s certainly setting them aside from many similar acts at the moment. For example, the opening “Self-Catering” starts with a bit of strummy guitar, marrying it to a clipped drum beat and then fattening things up with vocals and a rock treatment. Other tracks are more psychedelic (“Camped Out” even has a high wispy sound to go with its piano theatrics). The closing “Your Gunn Is Sett On Me” is something Neil Young would play as he leaves Earth’s orbit. A strange, shadowy marriage, that’s for sure.

Mute Records: • Mountaineers:

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