In the Future
Dauntless by day, burning their hours on Vancouver’s mean streets, helping the potted and penniless, Black Mountain then play it safe at night. In the Future is innocuous, referential rock, evoking, but never overdoing, the guitar riffery of Led Zeppelin and the checked psychedelia of Soft Machine. “Evil Ways” spins like a board game wheel, a twirl of toms, freakout guitar and cosmic organ bits. It’s the sound of Jimmy Page hopping on stage with Robert Wyatt at London’s UFO Club in ’67. “Queens Will Play” finds Amber Webber taking the lead, her echoey pathos a perfect complement to the song’s bluesy spine. However, other efforts sputter: hear “Tyrants,” which alternates between bombastic downstroking and meditative guitar washes, its excess of moods and tempo shifts pulling down any sort of song structure. The 16-minute epic “Bright Lights” suffers a similar fate. The album’s highlight is unexpected: “Night Walks,” which traces some of the best atmospheric folk efforts of 2007 (Bon Iver, Gowns): “Just enough light to see,” Webber sings, “And the shadow my only company.” With scattered emotion and spectral textures, “Night Walks” finds Black Mountain doing a funeral lament better than any derivative anthem.