Mount Eerie - Ocean Roar

by Miz DeShannon Rating:7 Release Date:

The second part of Mount Eerie's (Phil Elverum) 2012 release scheme is 'Ocean Roar' (the first being 'Clear Moon'), a dark and mysterious and spellbinding layered sound which is quite absorbing upon a proper listen. With melodic tracks intermingled with intense instrumentals 'Ocean Roar' has much similar qualities, but with heavier guitar riffs and more of a doom feel to it, with samples all over it, the rushing sea, children's laughter, engine roars - making the whole thing more refined than your usual one-man-band electro offering, unsurprising considering Elverum's interest in the sonic booms of black metal.

'Pale Lights' is a whopping intro - a ten minute long instrumental piece, filled with crashing cymbals and repetitive riffs only occasionally changing note, is at the beautifully delicate part of the album. Gently melting into soft angelic single vocal, without much variation of note more of a poem reading, then back to the instrumental, the layers of sounds change to a low humming and some hammond sounds creep in with 4 minutes to go. It's like ethereal noise-rock. Considerable contrast in type to the title track then is 'Ocean Road' which follows the low-fi pop phenomenon of the last couple of years, with it's floaty boy/girl vocal harmonies and twee beats.

Leaving an unusually long gap between songs, Elverum is simply preparing you for the dreaminess of 'Ancient Times' and the proceeding 'Instrumental'. Albeit a very full-on dreaminess, 'Instrumental' being another piano led blast of reptitiveness, which has a sudden end. This sure is an emotional ride. Twitching and fumbling sounds are broken by the almighty crash of noise that is 'Waves' - a 'big' sounding post-rock track that seems like it's been created by a whole orchestra in an alien spaceship, complete with the dull groan of such a thing at the end. Fantastic, and so intense it's chilling. What a track. And with 'Engel Der Luft' blending straight in, a continuation of the intensity with a somewhat darker and deeper sound, then straight into 'I Walked Home Beholding'

with it's poetic vocals, dreamy organ hums and guitar twangs, you're struck with Elverum's master-plan. The thing with this album is a realisation that the clever blending makes each track name somewhat redundant and that the whole project, 'Clear Moon' included is a soundscape rather than a series of seperate incidents. Just how an album should be, a great body of work rather than disjointed hits.

Finishing with another guitar orientated 'Instrumental', the last track starts with the squeal of a guitar that you'd find on any 80s heavy rock offering. Seven minutes of screaming noise, but not with the underlying beauty of previous noise-led tracks, half way through it's time to turn it off.

At times 'Ocean Roar' is very atmospheric (think Explosions In The Sky but with the impact of Isis or Tool), but also at times very long-winded, which is a shame - the engaging parts of it are quite amazing. This is definitely a soundscapes album, the kind of thing you'd find as an OST for an obscure surreal British thriller. It's quite an indulgent album, drifting a little too much and dragging with the instrumental parts, but it's beautiful in composition and choice of samples and sounds and the ten-minute starting track, well, ambitious to say the least.

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