Thursday, January 24, 2008

Speck Mountain...I think I like them!

Whilst my music reviews are on a Stockholm bent, now seems a good time to mention Speck Mountain. Nope, they're not more Swedish indie-pop, they're actually from Chicago (or are at least based there...the individual members come from Portland, Detroit and Los Angeles), but they do have a song by the name of Stockholm.
This is about as different to Those Dancing Days as you could get, save for having a female vocalist. Nevertheless, it is rather lovely...and may even be suitable for the comedown you feel after spending an evening bopping away to Those Dancing Days.
Vocals here are courtesy of Marie-Claire Balabanian, who would definitely be in the running for a trophy if there was ever a Hope Sandoval soundalike competition. Then we have some organ drones courtesy of Kate Walsh (not the Kate Walsh of Tim's House fame, a different one), and some nice lazy guitar from Karl Briedrick. The songs are as much about what is not there as what is...hang on, I'm not making myself very clear there, am I? What I mean is that space (as in room to move, not Giddy Stratospheres) within the songs provides as much of their atmosphere as does the instrumentation. To summarise them in one sentence I would say something like: Laid-back lullabies for the disenchanted.
Oh, screw it, just have a listen for yourselves!
Listen if you like: Downtempo sounds in the vein of Mazzy Star.

mp3: Speck Mountain - Blood Is Clean (in which the intro. sounds like The Doors)

mp3: Speck Mountain - Hey Moon

mp3: Speck Mountain - Stockholm

N.B. In my opinion, their song Backslide is best avoided, as it is a relatively dirgy attempt at electronica that can be somewhat painful on the ear. And whilst their song Summer Above is just lovely when the vocal kicks in, you do have to sit through almost two instrumental minutes before getting to that. In other words, I like Speck Mountain, but my endorsement does come with a slight disclaimer of 'good when they get it right'.

Visit Speck Mountain at MySpace.

Buy their album, Summer Above, here.

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