Black Mountain - IV (2LP)
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Black Mountain have long had one foot firmly planted in rock's past, but on IV they don't sound as if they're caught in a loop of nostalgia. Instead, the band have embraced the stylistic elements of late-'60s and early-'70s smart people's rock, but use them to shape the way they approach the material. The banks of keyboards, the barking report of the guitar, and the occasional drift into the aural cosmos certainly peg the era of greatest influence for Black Mountain. But the group's melodies remain fortunately straightforward, even when the arrangements stretch out to invite the spirit (such as on "Over and Over [The Chain]" and Space to Bakersfield"). And despite the group's obvious psych/prog leanings and fondness for stretched-out jams, there isn't a lot of empty virtuosity displayed on IV. Black Mountain favour texture and drama over instrumental acrobatics and if the musicians don't aim to impress with their chops, their ideas easily get over on this album.