Mountain Song - Inertia
Stadium grunge with a dash of post-hardcore
Words: Phil Weller
With generous helpings of Pearl Jam and early Soundgarden flavouring their opening salvo, bolstered by later injections of some post-hardcore vigour into the veins of their stadium grunge sound, Mountain Song have crafted an interesting listen in Inertia.
Dedicated to the people of Manchester, the EP throws out snarling-yet-delicate Brand New like textures, long unwashed Mike McCready riffs and Eastern guitar resonance a la Kim Thayil aplenty. Then they tie it all up in Daniel Ascow’s natural rasping vocals, at times coming across like Mark Lanegan, leaving you with a familiarly comfortable but fresh sound.
The standout moment belongs to The Great Chain, which draws on with a slow, downbeat and haunted melancholia, pocked by a Donald Trump presidential speech, used in both an ironic and strangely uplifting manner. The lead guitar that comes in swinging after the last of Trump’s words have faded out is emotively charged while remaining melodically focussed. In short, picture Pearl Jam toying Soundgarden’s Superunknown blueprint.
Both the opening and closing tracks are largely instrumental and the harsh critic in us finds, while their music is atmospheric and moving, the given layers and repetitiousness alone are not enough to justify such long passages without a voice. They use big, beautifully voiced chords, the crashing waves of cymbals and razor sharp tremolo picking all to great effect, but it feels that they’ve left too much empty space. It’s desolate, waiting to be decorated.
In the end, the EP delivers mixed results, but one that is worth it just for The Great Chain.