Mount Eerie


Format: CD
Catalog: 140
Genre: Rock/Pop
Rel. Date: 01/21/2003
UPC: 789856114023

Mount Eerie
Artist: Microphones
Format: CD


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The Microphones' follow-up to 2001's masterful The Glow, Pt. 2picks up directly where that record left off: with the rhythmic pounding ofringleader Phil Elvrum's own heart, a visceral sound that intermingleswith tape hiss before giving way to crashing ocean waves and a foghorn in thedistance. These are the sounds of Elvrum's childhood in Anacortes, Washington,where he grew up in the solitary shadow of Mt. Erie and—if Mount Eerieis any indication—passed his days staring into the clouds and contemplatinglife, death and the expanding universe. Myth plays a big part in the record'sepic narrative, which concerns a grieving dreamer who scales a mountain (Sisyphus)to question his own mortality (Gilgamesh), only to be punished for his own conceit(Prometheus). On The Glow, Pt. 2, Elvrum saw the future in his sleep;with Mount Eerie, we see the expansive sadness barely contained in hisdreams.

Mount Eerie is a tone poem that unfolds like a classical play, an elegantand elaborately constructed meditation on love and longing in five acts. Elvrum,who cast off the shackles of the verse-chorus-verse format and exploited silenceto great effect on past efforts, pushes the envelope even further here: thefive tracks ebb and flow wildly, sometimes giving way to songs-within-songsand songs-within-songs-within-songs. Along the way, Kyle Field drops in to playDeath, K records head honcho Calvin Johnson barks commands as The Universe,and frequent collaborators Karl Blau, Khaela Maricich and Mirah Zeitlyn decoratethe swirling canvas. As usual, Elvrum has rendered both foreground and backgroundin painstaking detail, though this may be the first Microphones record thatsounds just as good coming through a set of speakers. And in an odd way, MountEerie remains entirely accessible, though it's clearly the most obtuseand confounding thing to dovetail out of Elvrum's subconscious yet—it'sa marriage of limitless ambition and lack of inhibition with very deep pockets.