Saturday, February 07, 2009

Journey to Speck Mountain

CHICAGO SPACE ROCK: Karl Briedrick and Marie-Claire Balabanian refer to the sound of their band, Speck Mountain, as “ambient soul.” Wikipedia and the folks at Burnt Brown classify the group's music as “space rock.” Sleepy, warm, fuzzy, and sensual. Oh, sure, you’ll make the Mazzy Star connection straight away. And rightfully so. Marie-Claire’s sultry vocals hypnotize you, numb your extremities, make you feel warm inside like blackberry brandy. The intricately layered songs soothe and stimulate, like the night air on a windows-down, late-night drive through the country.

Speck Mountain

Speck Mountain's forthcoming album, Some Sweet Relief (March 17 - Carrot Top / Burnt Brown) is a an uplifting and transforming release. I listened to this one three times in a row - straight through on receipt. There are many reasons to stay for a while...

“Shame on the Soul” evokes memories of Stevie Nick’s husky treatment of “Gold Dust Woman,” and may I be so bold as to detect the faint scent of Santana-esque guitar? Spacey, electric-piano driven “Backslider/Backsliding” is a two-song construct that starts slow, building up steam as it transitions into haunting and soaring sounds (think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon). Karl’s guitar on “I Feel Eternal” plunges the listener underwater, and Marie-Claire’s voice softly splashes like the wake of a passing summer storm. I’ve never been much of a fan of the sax, but it really works here and gets our seal of approval. Be on the look out for this album. It's a real winner.

Think of Speck Mountain's songs like a well-deserved soul massage. Live, this new material projects a loose, narcotic swagger, taking off from atmospheric majesty into full-on hypnotic assault. And we're making it easy for you Boston-area readers to feel good. The Mountain comes to you on Sunday night (2/8). Speck Mountain will play PA's Lounge in Somerville - one of the best small sound stages in the city. Go. Groove. You’ve earned it.

Myspace / Carrot Top Records

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