Top 5: Pink Mountaintops

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Pink Mountaintops
Get Back

Jagjaguwar Street: 04.28
Pink Mountaintops = √Spiritualized√Bronco√The Boomtown Rats√Wire√The Clash

Get Back received mixed reviews across the board—some reviewers lauded the album as a rock n’ roll tour de force (Mojo, PopMatters) and others expressed wishy-washy reactions (Paste, Pitchfork). Most seemed, to some extent, to decry the sixth track, “North Hollywood Microwaves” because Annie Hardy (Giant Drag) raps about the joys of cum, declaring “I am a slut!” amid her blithe confessions of bestiality with donkeys and bears (because men no longer satisfy her). The prank worked. Critics expecting Pink Mountaintops’ amorous psych folk were surely taken aback by this surrealist-feminist song in frontman Stephen McBean’s reconstruction of punk’s urgency and repudiation of the rock lineage that Pink Mountaintops iterated in previous (parent) albums. Surely, his screams in opener “Ambulance City” of “Ambulance city/Station to station!” mimic this sonic transition to a more rompin’ Western musical spirit. Track 2, “The Second Summer of Love,” is Get Back’s best song, wherein McBean romanticizes 1987 as the track’s namesake while snare-to-kick beats fire like skateboard-to-concrete ammunition. “Kids don’t follow all them golden rules/We’re all alright through the night we roam,” sings McBean. Some chastise McBean for attempting to relive his youth as he harkens back to events from his past. His reflection, however, loops back to his perspective as someone remembering, which the Phrygian, Morrissey-esque “Wheels” demonstrates. There are some alt-country-influenced tunes in here as well, like “Through All the Worry” and “Sell Your Soul,” which posit his self-awareness of his age. “New Teenage Mutilation” functions as a glam/power-pop number where he tearfully but catchily asserts himself as a compatriot of kids in the clutches of “computerized segregation” as the guitars twinkle melodically. The musical-narrative arc of Get Back ultimately brings this well-rounded record full circle—much in the way that McBean’s sticking to his guns from adolescence does lyrically. –Alexander OrtegaThis is an Extended Review from SLUG Magazine’s Top Five Albums of 2014.