I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it many times again before my pen is finally silent: taking something known and preforming it well is often much more impressive than experimentation and innovation. There’s just something beautiful about tropes played straight, about familiar twists and ideas being executed in a professional manner. Certainly, it is a different thrill than the rush which grabs one by the throat when something truly new is heard. Instead, it’s the warm feeling we get when a blanket covers us, when comfort spreads through our limbs and sets us at ease. With such predilections should we approach Mountain‘s Evolve, an album which puts to shame the countless iterations that exist in post rock on the Explosions In the Sky formula. Mountain approach these ideas with open arms, adding their own melancholic yet expansive flare.
“Stugor” is a great example of all of that. Like any good rendition of the typical, crescendo-centered post rock formula, it enjoys highly engaging drums. These moves between open cymbal hits along the chorus, whose job it is to lend it size and grandeur, and tight work with the snare along the rest of the track to give it momentum and punch. When the guitars aren’t playing precise leads, they’re performing an engaging bridge (two minutes and forty seconds mark) which gives the entire track a dreamy feeling. In general, this is the modus operandi for the album: by combining stoner, shoegaze and emo devices in their instrumentals, Mountain are able to craft a sort of haze which contrasts with the crescendo instead of the stock, and often empty build-up.
This also cures Evolve of a common and troubling flaw that this genre of post rock often suffers from and that’s low replay-ability. Sure, tremolo picking and melancholic guitars over effervescent synths carry an initial emotional weight, but that weight soon grows lighter with repeated sojourns. Like sleepmakeswaves however, whose influences is also heavily felt on the track “Verminest” and its weird and heartbreaking piano, Mountain are able to garnish these sparse elements with robust riffs, interesting bridges and choruses which are more than just catharsis. “Verminest” exemplifies these ideals with its intricate drum/piano conversations, a tool that should be familiar to fans of sleepmakeswaves. These passages are some of the most convincing on the album and pay off beautiful when it is time for them to depart into the mighty crescendo.
These elements leave Mountain’s post rock empowered, expressive and powerful even well past the tenth or twentieth listen. Thus, it is a worthy and rare addition to the annals of “crescendocore”, a genre often too obsessed with its own agenda to care that music, at the end of the day, is a repeated and masticated experience. Mountain remember that and thus, make Evolve and album for the future, not just the overwrought present.