By all accounts, I should not like Pink Mountaintops. At best, the Vancouver-originated, Los Angeles-based band’s sound is acid-infused noise-rock; at worst, it’s a bunch of kids on acid making noise.
But, somehow, it works. Like, really well.
It all started when I heard the single ‘North Hollywood Microwaves’ off the band’s latest record, Get Back. The track features a sweet guitar strum, before slipping into a fuzz-surf sound, incorporating lazy horns and hazy vocals. It’s a catchy song that turns into a wonderfully twisted track with cheeky child-like verses speaking of. . . well, bear cum.
Pink Mountaintops is the brainchild of Stephen McBean, who also fronted Vancouver’s Black Mountains. McBean moved to L.A. and met up with pretty much anyone who was making noise-rock. That’s how Get Back was born.
The album, which was released today, features a constellation of amazing artists: J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, Rob Barbato of Darker My Love, Steve Kille of Dead Meadow, Annie Hardy of Giant Drag. . . the list goes on and on and on. What we listeners are left with is a cohesive album that explores all the dark corners of the genre.
Take ‘The Second Summer of Love’, for example. The song has a marching beat that stresses urgency, but the vocals are drawn out and distant. For a laid-back tune, ‘Second Summer’ does a great job of getting you excited for a summertime road trip – windows down, soft breeze, dirt road.
‘Through All The Worry’ really amps up the fuzz – you can barely hear a calming acoustic guitar through the noise. But a serene string accompaniment plows through the fuzz to add to the softness of the song. Plus, with lyrics like – “May the sun always shine into your eyes / When they can’t see / Through all the worry” – you can practically feel the warm sunshine on your face.
‘Wheels’ adds an eerie tint to the record, with echoey vocals, distant twangs of guitar and hovering synths. ‘Sell Your Soul’ brings us back to a more easily identifiable rock, with a clanging piano, simple guitar riffs and slurred skater vocals.
‘New Teenage Mutilation’ sounds like the Ramones made surf-fuzz, and ‘Shakedown’ sounds like the surf-fuzz-turned-pop track you’ve been waiting for.
Overall, Get Back is a wonderfully well-rounded record that hits all the noise-rock points you could ask for in an album. I’ve been listening to it on repeat; pick up a copy, and you’ll be listening to it non-stop throughout the summer too.