Mount Eerie Wind's Poem(P.W. Elverum & Sun) Buy it from Insound
Sometimes this music review business is a tough nut to crack. You get an album and in the interest of time you need to get acquainted with it in a few days and a handful of listens. Sometimes that’s just not enough, especially when faced with something as confounding as Wind’s Poem. Not that I’m surprised. I had a similar experience with Elverum's last album as the Microphones, Mt. Eerie. That ended up seeping slowly into my consciousness and becoming one of my favorite records of the year, a development in no way obvious to me on early listens. Now I feel a similar thing happening with this one. There’s very little on this record with any immediate appeal, apart from the already familiar minor key theme music from Twin Peaks. Yet somehow I keep coming back to it again and again. I know an artist is onto something when as soon as the record finishes I’m quickly pressing play for another go - which tells me that I like Wind’s Poem, but have no idea why.
I guess if I was an eager post-grad I’d make a big to-do about the wind metaphor, ie, these songs tend to wash over you like a cold Arctic breeze, or, listening to this album is like sitting on your porch waiting for the storm to come as the wind picks up, sending the tire swing to and fro, yadda, yadda, and I wouldn’t entirely be bullshitting you. The songs do tend to reveal themselves gradually, gaining cumulative force and enveloping you in sound. The impact can be as subtle as it is overwhelming. Don’t ask me what Phil is on about, because I can’t understand most of what he’s saying. All I know is the sound of this record packs a wallop, which is the same thing I thought about Mt. Eerie, even though that was ostensibly some kind of conceptual piece about the universe. It damn well sounded like the universe and that was enough for me. And yes, this one does sound like the wind, so I’m satisfied as far as the concept goes.
It’s hard to find fault with the record since anything you think might be lacking, melodic interest, harmonic development, rhythmic drive, etc, was certainly left out deliberately. That’s not what Elverum is going for, never has been really, so if you’re looking for those things you are cautioned to look elsewhere. However, if brooding intensity is your thing, well fella you came to the right place, right here in River City with a capitol T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Phil. Take Mouth of Sky, for instance. It’s unremittingly loud, distorted and bleak and it’s the kind of thing I usually hate. But it works for me, probably because it’s missing the one element that most turns me off – the kind of alpha-male aggressive cesspool that most metal seems to wallow in. Elverum really sounds like he’s painting pictures, and while these are a little more abstract then the ones that made up most of Glow Pt. 2, then so be it. Even at his quietest, he doesn’t do easy-listening, and you either have to go with it or walk on by. Me, I really dig this crazy bastard and his pastoral symphonies. Anybody who covers Angelo Badalamenti has got to know what he’s doing, even if we don’t.8 September, 2009 - 18:39 — Alan Shulman