At long last the eponymous album from NZ sonic behemoths Mountaineater is here, much anticipated and although there have been a few tracks popping up here and there, it has none the less been a long time coming.
They have been out around NZ on a series of launch dates (nothing of course this side of the world) and the album is available through their Bandcamp site, as well as iTunes and the artefact itself can be obtained via Smoke CD’s
A mere six tracks long but with the majority of those running in around six, seven or nine minutes, it is album that grabs you my the scruff of the neck and hauls you through the entirely wonderful 43 minutes of its duration.
Opener Gutterball really rather sets the scene with blistering base and drums from Chris Livingstone and Anaru Ngata overplayed with the remarkable sounds driven from Tristan Dingeman’s guitar. It’s rather needless to go through track by track, although tracks like the aforementioned Gutterball and the epic Spider Baby stand out, to these ears at least.
As someone whose musical tastes lean normally to something less akin to the “rock” mode – to be honest so much of the so-called rock rather bores me, derivative and flaccid – so Mountaineater are one of small group of bands whose music I allow to rip my face off. I guess it is precisely their combination of ferocity and musicality that I am so drawn to.
There is an intelligence, a craftsmanship, nothing that indicates anything less than a determination to do what they think is right, make an uncompromising sound-scape with little regard for commercialism or audience-chasing. That’s not to say that it’s wilfully obscure or ‘difficult’, just self confident and assured.
The sound-scape is startling, rich and complex, towering and absorbing. Of course there are those that draw parallels with their homeland, music that describes the scenic variety of NZ, it’s not a comparison I can draw but there is something undeniably huge and spacious, a sense of far horizons and endless skies. It’s like being in the grips of a grizzly bear, mercilessly hugging you to bits, a smile all the while on his furry face.
Sitting here writing on a plane surrounded by others with headphones clasped to their ears for the next eleven hours, I wonder what they are listening to and bet that few if any are listening to music as extraordinary as me.