Friday 14 October 2022


Album releases in the sub-genres of stoner, desert, doom and psych are our main musical focus here at Desert Psychlist but we also try to cover those albums by bands whose music falls into the cracks and grey areas that exist in-between those genres. London based trio Mountains are one such band whose music dwells in those cracks and grey areas, their music has stoner(ish) elements in its make-up but is not exactly what you would call stoner or desert, you will find dank doomic flavours making their presence felt here and there also but you would never in a million years ever call these guys a doom band and as for psych, well there are elements present, but they tend to lean towards the more prog end of that particular spectrum. Mountains are a bit of an enigma, a band whose music has ticks in all the relevent boxes but doesn't actually fit into any of those boxes, something that will become more evident when listening to the band's new album "Tides End".

A raucous guitar motif backed by growling bass and punchy powerful percussion introduces opening song "Moonchild" but is then quickly replaced by gently picked arpeggios rolling over a backdrop of sympathetic rhythms with vocalist/guitarist David Jupp telling of "a light in the wood", that "leads you to answers" in clean languid tones, his voice possessing a honeyed weariness that is a perfect fit for the songs slightly melancholic lyrical content. Nicely balanced with interchanging moments of crunching riffage and laid-back tranquillity the song sets a very high standard for the rest of the album to live up to. There is a touch of Biffy Clyro (Scottish alt-rock/indie combo) in what Mountains bring to the table musically, not just in Jupp's vocal delivery, which carries a similar dynamic to that of Biffy Clyro's frontman Simon Neil, but also in the way the band structure their songs with dark reverberating heavy riffage routinely trading places with quieter more tranquil moments over which vocal melodies, boasting almost pop-like meters, are sung, crooned and on occasions roared. Jupp's vocals and guitar work throughout the eight songs that make up "Tides End" are exemplary, we have already spoken of his vocal prowess, but his guitar work is just as impressive, his lead work soars and swoops, his chords crunch and crackle and his arpeggio's sparkle and glisten. Mountains are not just one man however and Jupp's vocals and guitar tones would sound severely lacking if it were not for Greg Machray's mixture of liquid and growling bottom end and Matt Byrne's powerful seismic rhythms, the pairing a force to be reckoned with, both when the groove is tight and when things get a little looser and languid.
 If you are looking for Desert Psychlist to do a full break down of all the songs on ""Tides End" then you are going to be disappointed, what we will do is point out what for us are a few of the album's highlights. We have already mentioned the superb opening track "Moonchild" with its undulating dynamics but it's following track "Lepa Radić" is equally as mind-blowing, a three-minute tour-de force that utilizes prog like chord progressions, sludge metal refrains and harsh and clean vocals over an ever-shifting rhythmic platform of groove that is just sublime. Then there is "Empire" a song that boasts a stoner metal dynamic but twins that dynamic with those Biffy Clyro flavoured vocal melodies we spoke of earlier. Lastly, we have title track "Tides End" a song that ties together all the different facets of Mountains sound together in one place and leaves you wishing the song was so much longer than its seven-minute duration.
Mountains guitarist/vocalist David Jupp admited to Desert Psychlist, in a recent chat, that he was a wee bit concerned that the bands ever so slight shift in direction towards a grungier/alt-rock sound might alienate some fans who had bought in to the band's music via their first album "Dust In The Glare" and that they might find themselves "out on a limb in the scene" due to their new direction but on the evidence of this, the bands second album, we suspect Mr. Jupp's worries will prove unfounded.

"Tides End" is an astonishing album from start to finish, its melding of alt-rock textures and easy on the ear melodies twinned with sludge tinted refrains, prog-like complexities and occasional vocal harshness will appeal to those who like their music bordering on the extreme but also to those who like a tune they can whistle, an album that covers all angles.
© 2022 Frazer Jones

1 comment:

  1. there's too many bands named mountains, or the mountains, or just plain mountain. but you guys are the best one. very unique and pleasant music which also rocks.