Jun 10, 2009

Outside Love-Pink Mountaintops

To quote the liner notes, 'music and lyrics by Stephen McBean'. Well thank you Stephen. But a story a read recently credits another major contributor to the mesmeric joy that is "Outside Love", the third work from Pink Mountaintops. At a wedding in Montreal McBean met Sophie Trudeau (GY!BE, A Silver Mount Zion). They actually composed a song at the wedding (oh to be have been there) and later decided to work together. The result is an album that is pretty hard to resist, an album uplifting and very giving. McBean and Trudeau have expanded the Pink Mountaintops sound, adding huge dollops of soul and lashings of spirit. With the help of many people from many bands, including the Black Mountain crew we have arrived at a sound that is primary, temporal and thoroughly intoxicating.

This begins with the anthemic "Axis: Thrones Of Love" which hums and drones as it builds layers over layers. A surprise to me is that it features the vocals of Ashley Webber and not her more famous sibling Amber. Ashley is great, her ethereal reed combining dreamily with the gruff and grit of McBean. If you want crunch to follow then "Execution" will do it for you, in spades. But it is the following two tracks where the eagle soars. "While We Were Dreaming" shimmers and glides under the soaring vocals of Webber. This song is filled with longing and hunger, a plea for love. This album is after all about love, inside and out. Outside and in. Pure and impure. "Vampire" turns it up a notch with McBean taking centre stage over a gentle guitar, before a choir climaxes the song into ecstasy. "You can suck out the blood, but you can't kill the heart of my love." Yes! "Holiday" is actually the only song to feature the vocals of Amber Webber and it is a rousing and spirited jaunt. The title track is another to savour, eerie and atmospheric it creates a feeling of impending doom. One of the few missteps is "The Gayest of Sunbeams", which feels a little lightweight to make much of an impact, but the album ends with sweet magnificence in the shape of "Closer To Heaven". This song pierces my heart. A song of majesty and grandeur, the harmonies explode and shatter into a million tiny pieces. A great way to end an album of huge scope and ambition. A piece of music that succeeds in its aim. To infuse the listener with love.

MP3: Vampire


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