Denali Denali

"Denali" is apparently the Native word for Alaska's Mt. McKinley, an ambitious work of Mother Nature that grows more chilling and foggy as you reach its peak. This Virginia quartet of the same name provides a similar climate in the sonic geography of their self-titled full-length; ice-queen Maura Davis may as well be rubbing a chunk of glacier down your spine as the ethereal, otherworldly vocals melt off her tongue and drip onto the slow-moving, melancholy and dreamy melodies of her band-mates (brother Keeley Davis, Cam DiNunzio, and Jonathan Fuller). This debut disc, which fellow Virginia native and Sparklehorse Mark Linkous helped produce, is an admittedly glossy and pretty ascent to the acme of the band's creative musings, yet at times the tempo of the climb is numbingly slow and monotonous - at the pace Denali uses to proverbially plant the flag at the end, you would have died of frostbite if it was the real thing you were conquering. But if you can hang on for the whole journey, it will turn out to be a rewarding one indeed. (Jade Tree)