Mountains On Our Backs

Written by: PP on 12/06/2009 19:57:45

Carcrashlander is an experimental indie rock solo project of Cory Grey whose name you might recognize from bands like Desert City Soundtrack and Norfolk & Western. Neither of those bands sound at all like "Mountains On Our Backs" though, so they are irrelevant in this review. The closest comparison I can personally come up with is experimental indie rock masters Portugal. The Man. Soundwise, these two bands are very different but both share the same objective: to experiment and push the indie rock envelope as much as possible. Where Portugal. The Man achieves that simply by being exceptionally strange and quirky with their pop melodies, Carcrashlander does the same by fusing together the harsh and the delicate, combining noise-obsessed distortion and feedback with quiet strumming and a calm, almost whisperous vocal delivery. Keyboards, trumpet and even flute provide nice contrast to the heavy guitar passages when they are used, and since they appear scarcely on the record, they add much more effect to the band's sound than if they were there in every song. The same goes with Anna Leach's female vocals which guest on a few tracks like the ambiance-filled "Driveway". Because they are only used a couple of times on the record, they automatically become much more special.

Since I was struggling to find some other reference points to Carcrashlander, I played the record to my girlfriend who loves this kind of stuff, and she said it sounds quite a bit like Beck's "Sea Change" record. I only know that "Loser" song by Beck so take my words with a grain of salt though, but I'm sure she's right, she usually is with this type of stuff. There are a few moments of sheer brilliance, such as the aforementioned "Driveway" as well as the somewhat pop-oriented "Killingsworth Frost". But in all honesty, there aren't too many passages or tracks that I've grown to like during the time I've been listening to the record. There are just too many parts playing the quiet/loud dynamic (with specific focus on the quiet) that say very little to the listener, and the straightforward rockers like "Coast To Coast" stand out like a sore thumb in the midst of the quiet experimentalist lullaby that the band has forged on the record. That being said, this type of music normally only two types of effect on me: either I'm completely dazzled by the music and I love it (Portugal. The Man), or I'm completely dazzled by the music and I just don't 'get it'. The latter is the case here, though perhaps my black and white setup isn't quite as suitable considering there are a few tracks here I genuinely like as well.


Download: Killingsworth Frost, Driveway
For the fans of: Portugal. The Man, Beck
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.04.2009
Jealous Butcher

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