It might come to no surprise to listeners who have followed the progress of ‘third wave’ emo, whose twinkly roots lie in the sad states of the middle US, that Illinois’s Brownie Mountain‘s Midwest Chic does not fall far from the proverbial tree – agile, suspended guitar lines sparkle over rapid, detailed drums and waltzing basslines. The band carry this musical pastiche through on tracks like the opener, ‘Oh Jeez, Jerry’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Whatever’, with it’s wandering riffs and tinkling harmonics.
None of this is to suggest the band merely repeats a tried and tested formula – many tracks feature tastefully arranged additions; a tonally sour piano on ‘Scene Cop’, quiet accompanying lines just emerging from the background on ‘Strawberry Fields Whatever’ and subtle xylophone lines on ‘That Guy Wot Punched Thru the Monet’ help the tracks vary in timbre. This is achieved without making either track ‘the one with [insert additional instrument here]’, which is a great display of restraint that serves the band well.
‘Jimmy John Buffet’s Lunch Buffet’ is a quite honestly beautiful track that begins as a guitar-xylophone duet, with the natural harmonics on the guitar so similar sounding to the xylophone it’s hard to tell where one instrument ends and the other begins at times. As the track builds, flutes and strings gradually enter, along with drums, and the track blends seamlessly into the unabashedly joyous intro of the final track, ‘Edgar Allen Poe’s: “That’s So the Raven”‘.
This is a mature, well-constructed album that is deserving of some major notice. It’s a brilliant swan-song to the band’s six years, a final release a band should be proud of.
math rock, indie, emo, instrumental, twinkly, soothing