Published Mar 01, 2005After last year's much-loved record as Pink Mountaintops, Stephen McBean (Jerk with a Bomb) is back with another dose of his drugged-up, riff-laden blues. This time as Black Mountain, McBean is joined by Vancouver-based compadres Matthew Camirand, Jeremy Schmidt, Amber Webber and Joshua Wells to form a proper five-piece band. Giving Josh Homme a run for his money in the fuzz-box riff department, Black Mountain aren't some stoner rock write-off. Their concepts go far and beyond just laying down head-thumping guitar parts, fusing classic '60s-feel psychedelic space outs ("No Hits"), magnificent Blue Cheer-style sludge explosions ("Don't Run Our Hearts Around") and rollicking freestyle jams à la the Velvet Underground ("Modern Music").
There's no denying the band's influences, as they proudly and blatantly wear them on all five sleeves during the Exile-era, Stones-worshipping "No Satisfaction," and the Zeppelin-filtered Sabbath nod "Druganaut." But even though their whole schtick might be evoking the leaders of yesterday's pack, Black Mountain survive and prevail with a tight set of adventurous yet completely in-synch musicians, McBean's distinct humming mumble and the pièce de résistance, Webber's trembling back-up cries.
Black Mountain is a hazy yet euphoric trip, proving McBean is definitely taking us somewhere with his series of bands. The only question is, what colour of mountain will he make us climb next? (Scratch)