Mount Eerie No Flashlight

Young Phil Elvrum (or Elverum, as he recently renamed himself) has made a modern mystic of himself. Over the past six years, he has drawn a course for himself as the Microphones, from modest lo-fi fuzz-rock beginnings through numerous creative breakthroughs that witnessed him evolving and deepening as not only a lo-fi studio wizard, but as a thinker and articulator of symbolic imagery. His final (and most ambitious) Microphones album, Mount Eerie, gave abstract musical voice to what felt like the entire history of the universe. It also provided segue into his future as Mount Eerie and effectively laid rest the Microphones project. Not that No Flashlight, Elverum’s proper debut as Mount Eerie, feels much different than his previous Microphones work — it’s still marked by dreary, existential sentiments and hopeful emotion, as well as his tender, soaring voice and knack for creating otherworldly lo-fi percussion. What’s different is the album’s preoccupation, which strikes a warm return to subjective matters and simpler arrangements. It’s a subtle work that strips away all of Mount Eerie’s objective grandiosity for an intimate return to determinedly straightforward sentiments. The wildly detailed explanations that cover this album’s lavish and massive foldout panels are further proof Elverum is working at bridging the mystic gap between his audience and himself. As a result, No Flashlight is overflowing with heart and searching, ghostly anti-melody. (P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)