Black Mountain – In The Future
The members of Black Mountain feel no special obligation to follow a straight-ahead path through a song, or to rein it in at four minutes. In the Future, their second full-length set, even boasts the sixteen-minute “Bright Lights”. Its first four minutes — mostly spent repeating the two-word song title — are the only thing here that borders on self-indulgent. The song’s remaining twelve minutes mirror what the album does as a whole: journey through wildly varying, nonlinear soundscapes. The Canadian sextet, led by primary vocalist and songwriter Stephen McBean, has darkened and intensified their sound a shade since their self-titled debut. They move fluidly between metal sludge, spacey keyboard psychedelia and acoustic rock haze, even within the same song. “Tyrants” is a case in point: Dense, blistering guitars give way to a mystical synth waltz, with Amber Webber’s plaintive bleating doubling McBean’s submerged vocals — and that’s just the first half of the song. The album strikes an uncalculated balance between muscular and expansive; that’s what makes it interesting.