The fourth album from the Perth-based psych/krautrock group is released today
Australian five-piece Mt. Mountain are today releasing their fourth album, ‘Centre’. Hailing from Perth, Australia, Mt. Mountain deal in a sprawling, motorik psychedelic rock sound that journeys between tranquil, drone-like meditations and raucous, full-throttle wig-outs that’ll blow your mind as much as your speakers. Taking cues from Krautrock pioneers like Neu! and Can whilst existing in a similar world to contemporaries like Moon Duo, Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch, Mt. Mountain are formidable torchbearers of the minimal-is-maximal tradition. You can stream the album and hear what the band had to say about it below. Pick up a copy of the album on vinyl/CD/tape here.
Growing up surrounded by religion but not a follower himself, Stephen Bailey (vocals/organs/flute) describes how, thematically, much of ‘Centre’ is a dissection of faith – both spiritual and secular – and his personal, often complicated relation to it: “The album for me, lyrically, is mostly about my experience of religion. It explores these concepts and the rules that were told to me from childhood to adulthood and my thoughts on my own connection to them. Similar themes arise between the tracks whether it be lyrically or structural, both a play on repetition and simplicity.”
On the opening track ‘Tassels’ for example – an exercise in unrelenting kosmische mastery – Stephen reflects: “I feel a disconnect to the idea of afterlife and all the rules in order to get you there. But I’m also not certain of anything, which is what this song is about”. The taut, driving ‘Second Home’ is a continued attempt to make sense of that disconnect with the great beyond (“It’s a play on afterlife, our second home not being heaven or hell but here on earth”). Then there’s the spaced-out ‘Hands Together’, “which is about the end of the world and non-Christian people praying in uncertain times and ultimately nothing coming of it. The lyrics in the chorus – “Oh let go, only approaching the stone” – meaning the gravestone”.
Elsewhere, the theme deviates. The dreamy, slow-burning beauty of ‘Two Minds’ is “about helping someone close to me with drug addiction and balancing my involvement within that. Something reminiscent of the phrase ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink’ describes the situation best”. ‘Aplomb’, on the other hand, was one of the first songs written for the album and marked a conscious shift of focus towards more rhythmic patterns within their music: “‘Aplomb’ is essentially the voice that I hear in my head, reminding me to not rush and slow down, and to have the confidence to bring this into practice in everyday life. We wanted there to be this clear contrast here between the tempo of the song and the lyrical content, an approach which appears throughout the album.”
Musically, the band’s sound is born out of long improvised jams so naturally much of the album was recorded live to capture the band at their most freewheeling. The soaring, seven-minute wig-out, ‘Peregrination’, articulates their creative approach perfectly. “‘Peregrination’ is a classic example of how we write together. Songs like this one generally start off as a ‘jam song’ that evolves slowly over months of playing with no real direction in place until it finds its own structure. At the end of recording, the path to get there has been stretched so long that there is barely any recollection of how the song came into existence in the first place”, the band reflect.
Mt. Mountain is comprised of Stephen Bailey (vocals/organ/flute), Thomas Cahill (drums), Glenn Palmer (guitar/synth), Brendan Shanley (bass), and Derrick Treatch (guitar). With a number of EPs and singles and three albums behind them – their 2016 debut ‘Cosmos Terros’, 2017’s ‘Dust’ and 2018’s ‘Golden Rise’ – the Perth quintet have picked up a formidable reputation in their homeland and further afield, thanks especially to their wildly all-consuming live shows. Constantly touring across Australia with each release, they’ve also shared the stage with notable down-under comrades like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and ORB, as well as a long list of international heavy-hitters including Sleep, MONO, Thee Oh Sees, Acid Mothers Temple and Moon Duo.