Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

The third album from Black Mountain shows the band developing their sound even further. Best described as their ‘maturation’ record, ‘Wilderness Heart’ shows Black Mountain really getting their presentation down and consolidating their music, but still, something feels missing here. While ‘In The Future’ remains the most inventive thing that Black Mountain has ever released, ‘Wilderness Heart’ shows the band at their most refined, even if it still results in a fairly bland release.

Although the past of Black Mountain has relied mainly on retro rock conventions, ‘Wilderness Heart’ shows the band really embracing modern rock sounds, although some sounds from classic rock and 70′s prog still remain. There are mellotrons, psychedelic samples and exotic sounds that sound like they could have been taken from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ here, all thrown atop some fairly conventional songwriting. Black Mountain was relatively adventurous with their second album, really letting loose with experimentation with the sixteen minute track ‘Bright Lights’ really coming to mind. Here, Black Mountain has become almost something of a standard rock band that one could hear on the radio, with a few prog sounds thrown in here and there for the sake of good measure. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t the worst possible idea for the band, due to the fact that while they showed promise while tugging their psychedelic influences, they never really grabbed hold of it. Here, ‘Wilderness Heart’ shows the band stripping down, but the presentation simultaneously improves. The vocals are still very twangy and none too pleasant to listen to, but are certainly a step up from the poor Arcade Fire-knock off I heard on the debut.

While it is something of a step forward for Black Mountain, ‘Wilderness Heart’ also doesn’t have the same shock value. There is also more than enough of this sort of radio-friendly rock to go around, and quite frankly, there are many bands that do it better than these guys. The development here is audible however, and it makes one wonder that providing they choose to work out a fourth album, whether or not it will be another step forward for the band.

Tracklist:

1. The Hair Song
2. Old Fangs
3. Radiant Hearts
4. Rollercoaster
5. Let Spirits Ride
6. Buried by the Blues
7. The Way to Gone
8. Wilderness Heart
9. The Space of Your Mind
10. Sadie

Line-up:

* Stephen McBean – Guitar/Vocals
* Amber Webber – Vocals
* Matt Camirand – Bass
* Jeremy Schmidt – Keyboards
* Josh Wells – Drums/Keys

Links:

http://www.blackmountainarmy.com/

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