Mount Eerie Clear Moon

Mount Eerie Clear Moon
There's always a little apprehension that comes with digging into a new Mt. Eerie album, given that Phil Elverum's whims, not necessarily fans' wishes, are what guides his hand. Clear Moon (the first of two 2012 albums he's releasing) is as likely to irritate as please, depending on expectations. The atmosphere follows up on 2009's Wind's Poem, an isolated, black-boned take on doom songs, but mostly drops that album's storm of distorted guitar work. Left in the wake are experiments with synthesizers, choral vocals and embattled drums, charged with ably carrying the dark flame Elverum keeps lit. He cites '70s arch soundtrackers Popul Vuh as an influence and their cosmically windswept sound is definitely behind the dense largesse he achieves, especially on the lurching title track. At the crux of things are Elverum's quietly fragile vocals, standing in for both the imperilled heart in the darkness and the dispassionate danger in nature that plays no favourites and pays no quarter. It's another gray, small-scale epic, one that confirms Mount Eerie's artistry. (P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)