Ambient drones seem to work hand in hand with post-rock, allowing any such artist who indulges in both genres to present either genre in a more interesting and versatile way. Mountains is one such band, whose albums featuring long relaxing drones are interspersed with post-rock tracks that bring in some unusual intensity. It gives Mountains as a band an incredible amount of appeal, as their albums seem to stray away from the incredibly typical conventions of both ambient albums and post-rock albums, and instead combine the best elements of both genres until it creates the sound Mountains are going for. This comes through brilliantly on their latest effort ‘Centralia’, which demonstrates some incredible strengths.
The combination of ambient and post-rock elements isn’t anything new, and in fact is a technique most bands in the post-rock genre seems to do. What separates these bands from Mountains is how Mountains seem to combine all the best elements of the genres, presenting an album that goes from strength to strength. Mountains open up with gentle washing of ambient instrumentals that linger on for incredible lengths, before interpolating more traditional post-rock elements, incorporating wonderful guitar lines that bring in an element of intensity that is not shown for the first half of the album. Mountains demonstrate brilliant understanding of intensity and emotion, presented through instrumental music, and use their talents to achieve this means in fine style. There’s very little that is truly wrong with ‘Centralia’, which just seems to have many working elements and very few weak ones, especially in the music itself.
‘Centralia’ has many wonderful elements, and fans of post-rock music will find a lot to be enjoyed on this album. It seems though that there might be some polarizing elements, considering that the album seems to go from ambient to post-rock in what others might deem a somewhat sudden change. The shift in intensity seems to give the album it’s appeal and mystery, though it might perhaps polarize other listeners who were becoming absorbed by whatever element has suddenly disappeared. It is arguable that Mountains has made this work well for their album ‘Centralia’, though whether this wins over everybody is anyone’s guess. Whilst Mountains also demonstrate some brilliant talent and understanding of instrumental music, it might be argued that there isn’t anything truly special on ‘Centralia’, even though it’s many elements work. Most of what is present on ‘Centralia’ has been done before and (to some extent) has been done better as well by other bands. It might be arguable that Mountains might need to expand upon their many talents to truly make themselves stand out within the genre.
It seems Mountains have crafted what is simply a wonderful album, featuring brilliant instrumentals that encompass many strong elements of ambient and post-rock. There’s an incredible amount of emotion present in some of the songs, backed up with brilliant intensity that keeps the album going from track to track. Regardless of whether ‘Centralia’ is a special album, it still demonstrates some brilliant talent by the band Mountains. There is technically nothing the band is doing wrong, and thus all they really need to do is just continue what they’re already doing, but make sure that they don’t allow their sound to become stale or boring. I doubt whether it will come to that, as I’m sure Mountains are already on the right track.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Identical Ship
- Circular C
Mountains’ latest album ‘Centralia’ is out now.