Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains "American Names"

Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains 'American Names'
The death of Death From Above is still a bitter pill to swallow, for me mostly because I never anticipated a band jacked up with that much noise would make such an impact. In a word, they were impressive. Perhaps the most depressing thing about their demise though is the less-than-fulfilling activity that’s followed.

The two halves couldn’t have acted any differently: the immediacy of Jesse F. Keeler’s post-DFA79 output with the horribly imitative MSTRKRFT seemed almost too soon, while the other half of the band, Sebastien Grainger, appeared just about done altogether because he’s taken his damn sweet time. Well, good things come to those who wait, and Grainger’s first real steps away from his old band will certainly fill the void in the hearts of DFA79 fans better than some rank, paint-by-numbers electro/disco.

Taking time away from music in order to come back to it, Grainger formed the Mountains – or Les Montagnes, as he confusingly calls them on occasion – a proper band to help realise his songwriting prowess. Having toured last year as the support act for Bloc Party’s North American jaunt, you get the sense Grainger wasn’t ready to premiere his songs so quickly, considering the first cut he released to the public, a lovely little tune called "Young Mothers” (by his lonesome on the 2007 T.O.-friendly comp, Friends in Bellwoods) that was unplugged and far more introspective.

Personally, I prefer Grainger’s howl with an electric currency running throughout, and so this first proper seven-inch for Rectangle Records (out this week) feels like a much more satisfying demonstration of his solo ability. A mid-tempo romp filled with repetitive strumming and a simple verse-chorus-verse structure, it’s fairly predictable but then again, it’s obvious Grainger et Les Montagnes aren’t looking to re-enact any break-neck noise rock blitzes. With his pipes hitting a lot of notes we’ve heard him reach in the past, it’s a familiarity his fans have been dying to experience again and as one of those fans, I gotta say, it feels pretty good.

Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains "American Names”