I wish I could live in the moment of anticipation before listening to The Mountains’ debut record rather than the world enveloped in just having heard it. However, just like an unrequited love that is finally reciprocated before being cast off into your own despair – wouldn’t you rather lust for something unobtainable than wallow in the misery of knowing you completely wasted your time waiting for an unsatisfying and fleeting moment?
My excitement for hearing and seeing The Mountains stemmed from my fascination with nearly all of front man Michael Møller’s past exploits. His old band, Moi Caprice released four albums of some of the finest music to ever come out of Denmark, receiving glowing reviews from international rags (5/5 stars in Mojo for The Art Of Kissing Properly) and continued on to make two staggeringly beautiful and nearly perfect solo albums (Every Street Car Has A Name, and the very fruitful and ambitious A Month Of Unrequited Love). With a body of work like that and a career lasting for more 90 seconds in the stale world of 2000’s Danish indie/pop, you’ve received your gold watch. The fact is though, that poor Michael is well known to be a TAD mopey and mostly write songs about girls and how they never love him, and while we are all growing up and settling down or going insane and taking happy pills Michael seems to have decided to hit us with this: The Mountains.
As an album and as a band this was just a disappointment to me. I really had no idea what to expect, so when I streamed it for free on Spotify (yes I refuse to get premium) I first thought an ad for some over produced pop act was coming up for 15 seconds, but to my chagrin I heard Moeller’s unmistakable voice. The production immediately hits you like a warm blast of air from a subway train careening by. The opening track (also called The Mountains) borders dangerously close to a watered down dub step that just never drops, and of course they throw the kitchen sink at it and just keep piling it on and peeling it away to adorn the very pedestrian lyrics and phrasing by our singer.
Hooks are aplenty and there is definitely a “coming up” and “coming down” vibe to the record as a whole, bouncing between 2/2 half step beats and pseudo house rhythmical arpeggios (some in retro 8-bit simulation) and of course note perfect singing but devoid of the human inflections and emotions that made even the average Moi Caprice tracks soar.
Ironically so, the high point of the album for me was actually probably designed to be the low point or palette cleanser. Positioned in the exact middle of the record – “Ivalo” and “Someone Else’s Room” are a little less bombastically produced and feel more like songs for grown ups (Who have a bit of a sweet tooth for 90s Depeche Mode) and actually sound more akin to Moi Caprice, which is kinda what I wanted out of this.
Maybe a new pair of fresh ears is needed, ones that haven’t heard the glory of Michael Møller’s former outings, but then again, that’s where all the hype and foots in the doors lay isn’t it? I still have a great respect and admiration for his voice and his undying passion for making decent music for so long, but if this is what to come, then most people may begin looking elsewhere to find their regular doses of twee loneliness.
I will be your Luke to your Darth Vader; I know that there is still some good left in that evil robotic husk you live in.