The metamorphosis is complete. Where Bitter River combined harsh and acoustic tracks, Mount Hope excludes the 'harsh.' In this way, one can view Pygmy Lush's roots, the seminal Pg. 99 and City of Caterpillar, as the larva, or caterpillar, if you will. Pygmy Lush's first release, Bitter River, then serves as the cocoon transition between musicians' prior work into the present, the music on Mount Hope, or the butterfly. With Mount Hope, Pygmy Lush have strained off the more intense, raucous aspects and kept the more subdued side of the tracks found on Bitter River.
Disregarding the lyrics completely, the music on Mount Hope is simple and, in its simplicity, melancholic. The guitar riffs are usually repeated throughout the songs, with occasional variation, and the tempo of almost every song could hardly be called "upbeat." Chris Taylor's vocals meld with the instrumentation to add to the overall downcast feeling of the album. Songs like the opener, "Asphalt," and the subsequent "No Feeling" display all of the aforementioned qualities.
"Frozen Man" begins with some harmonica and continues as a slowly-strummed acoustic song, a common aspect of the Pygmy Lush repertoire; "Butch's Dream" exhibits a little harmonica playing as well, something that sets the song's mood from the outset. "Hard to Swallow" grows as the song moves along, becoming gradually louder until the instruments drop out one by one, leaving Taylor alone, repeating "fear." The next song, "Concrete Mountain," sounds like accordion mixed in with some nylon-string guitar plucking and background noise while distant-sounding vocals croon unintelligible lyrics. A rather upbeat "Dreams Are Class" is reminiscent of a Johnny Cash cut in its rhythm, but different in its more eccentric delivery.
A new version of "Red Room Blues" appears on Mount Hope. It includes an ambient intro that stays in the background when the guitar joins in. After the vocals and guitar stop, the ambient background becomes the foreground and begins to swell. This 'outro' is very much like the twenty-five-minute track, "September Song," on Bitter River, except it is much shorter.
"Tumor" has no drums. Chilling notes are held virtually motionless behind the ragged curtain of voice and guitar. As the last song, it has a haunting quality that could easily make it the saddest track on Mount Hope. It gives some sort of forlorn closure to the album that makes your thoughts elusive.
7.0 / 10
Pygmylush have certainly put their time in their scene their ex members list is extensive and well documented. Knowledge of their past endeavors would do little to really prepare one ...
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