When most of us think about Australia, we conjure up ideas of sunny days, warmth, and good times. An atmosphere of laid back ambience and a nice chilled vibe. Yes, if pushed for an answer for musical acts from ‘down under’, I’m sure most of us would jump to AC/DC, maybe INXS, or even perhaps Kylie Minogue. For all of the musical wealth that there is, we, in the United Kingdom especially, aren’t overly versed in just how much quality is coming for the Australian shoreline.
Recently I had the absolute pleasure of reviewing the new Honeybone album, and that was such a revelation, as up to that point, the only Australian band I had an awareness of Clowns. A phenomenal outfit, punk rock at its finest, and I was blown away when I saw then live at Wacken 2018, but beyond them, I was drawing a blank.
I’m a kid of the 80s mostly, so it was all Kylie and Jason, and Men At Work, and their Down Under. I really wasn’t ready for Mt. Mountain, and the album I was about to delve in to.
Right off the bat, I have to say, that Centre, the latest Mt. Mountain album, due out this month, was not what I was expecting at all. Its psychedelic tones, and improv jams, had me taken away completely, to a different plane of existence all together. The heady mix of groovy, chilled tunes, and that light summery vibe that they capture so phenomenally, left me wishing for the warmer seasons, and a relaxing spot, without any of life’s stresses what so ever.
Centre is the fourth album by the Perth quintet, and it certainly is a breath of fresh air, to blow the cobwebs away. It’s for looking forward, towards better times, and the prospect of a far nicer summer by looking beyond the cold winter, and the COVID pandemic we’ve all had to suffer, and live through.
Much of the album was recorded during live sessions, and this sensation can be felt upon listening, it sounds free, and somewhat ‘spur of the moment’, especially on the open instrumental passages, where the music and vibe really go off on a path of their own.
Centre, is a nine-track musical feast, the likes of which I have struggled, band wise, to draw any comparison. At times there’s a real Death Cab for Cutie vibe, with flowing soundscapes, and easy on the ear vocal, helping you to get lost in the music. Beyond Death Cab, I’m at a loss, maybe my musical catalogue of knowledge just isn’t built for such light and transcendent sound, but all I can think while I listen, is just how calming and weightless it all really is.
It lifted my mood, calmed the inner demons, and left me with a smile on my face…
As track one, Tassels, introduces me to the band, it’s like the dawning of a new day, the vibe is optimistic and infectious. I genuinely feel happy, right from the opening bars. Its airy and non-abrasive nature is somewhat cathartic, and instantly calms my inner spirit.
As Hands Together plays, I close my eyes, and it takes me away. It’s light, and spiritual, and the feeling of weightlessness embraces me, like a warm hug. It has me reminiscing about the summertime, relaxing in the sunshine, the sun on my face, and a cool drink in my hand. One of the beauties of this experience is that it’s completely timeless. It doesn’t feel dated, but also hard to believe it’s new. It has moments of a trippy stoner vibe, but not in an oppressive way, the vibe is pure ambience, and all you can do is lay back and relax.
The List takes me by the hand, and with its rumbling bass lines and hypnotic drum patterns, it’s a thoroughly cathartic experience. This leads us on to Two Minds, a totally euphoric jam, which is so light and airy, I honestly feel like I’m floating above the Earth. Track six, Aplomp, really shows the band at their most upbeat, it’s a little pacier, and conjures up thoughts of nighttime drives, on an open road…
Peregrination shakes things up a bit. It’s a more proggy track, and there’s something really Pink Floyd about it. Not early Floyd, or the Eighties Floyd, but more that really nice era right in the middle, the Dark Side Of The Moon, and Wish You Were Here period. A time when there were no boundaries, and anything was possible. With the synths and wind instrument accompaniment thrown in for good measure, this really is an opulent sound to behold.
As penultimate track, Second Home plays through, I think for me, if someone were to ask me to point at one track to highlight, it’s this one as it especially gives me the ‘Death Cab’ vibe I mentioned earlier, and it’s this track that seems to be more structured, and with purpose.
Deluge finishes the album, and this for me is the surprise. It has a darker mood, somewhat sombre, but still full of ambience. As it fades out, I feel like I’ve witnessed more than just an album playing through, this is an experience. Everything about it has kept me hooked, and I make a mental note to come back to this album on those warm summer days, to complete the mood.
As surprises go, this was a big one for me, a real bolt out of the blue, but in the best way possible. It lifted my mood, calmed the inner demons, and left me with a smile on my face. And that is the best possible outcome.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish