Black Mountain, ‘Mary Lou’ – Song Review
Imagine Mad Max shooting down a gnarly Indonesian barrel, cutting up the wave and launching up over the lip toward a blood-red sun. Of any band in the world, who would score such a dystopian surf explosion? For Year Zero director Joe G, the answer was clear: summon Black Mountain to give a stoney headbanging soundtrack, distilled in single 'Mary Lou,' (listen below).
The Vancouver riff-alchemists were clearly stoked to score Year Zero, Globe's latest surf film and Black Mountain's forthcoming album of the same name. The film (trailer below) and the music share similar aesthetics: vintage, vivid, vital; fresh, foreboding, fantastic--all along the director's pitch line, "What if this was a really good time on the other side of the apocalypse?"
A cocktail equal parts Beach Boys and High on Fire, the song hits rapture in multiple senses: the slow doomy intro rises like a bass-and-echoes wave out of the ocean, before being joined by subtle toms and a nonchalant rhythm guitar, and then, after two minutes foreplay and repeated taunts of "Hello, hello, what you gonna do?" -- the song opens with with a carving lead line. "Mellow, mellow" the chorus continues, "what you gonna do?"
Try to hang on.
Vocalists Stephen McBean and Amber Webber trade shore-crashing siren wails, moving from one stereo channel to the other, interlocking and disengaging. Their voices are more like instruments, lending to the maelstrom atmosphere. There's a whole topsy-turvy chamber-universe in that 7:43, the listener's id caught up in a tantric surf moshpit. Like a wave slamming you into the shore, 'Mary Lou' will tumble you into a smile and a few broken ribs.
If this is what the end of days will sound like, I'll be banging my head when the four horsemen come.
Cowabunga, dudes. The surf's up on Black Mountain's 'Year Zero,' out on April 3.