steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Mountains On Our Backs" CD

Jealous Butcher

Genre: indie rock, art rock

Portland, OR

Jul 13, 2009

Flat out, these guys are good. On Mountains on Our Backs, Carcrashlander treats us to sprawling, artistic indie rock that is awash in atmosphere and melody. The set-up is nothing fancy - guitar, keys, drums, bass, and vocals, primarily - but these songs make the most of their facilities.

Carcrashlander is a band that's unafraid of biding its time. The eight minute opener, for example, is a gradually metamorphosing epic - what is essentially a lush pop song evolves seamlessly from peak to valley and back again. It's an immense and expansive sound that catches you by surprise. Singer Cory Gray's soft but gravelly voice is a curiously appropriate fit to the songs, which are pretty but dark - the style is somewhat reminiscent of The Minus 5 or Granddaddy.

Like many bands these days, Carcrashlander makes use of amp-filtered chirping keyboard tones, as is best exemplified by "Killingsworth Frost," a hazy but infectious pop song with a wonderfully meandering verse melody. But the real treat is the strolling build of "Driveway," which brings a sublimely pretty pop haze to a soaring climax. Think modernized Talk Talk with serious edge. While I am less than pleased with the cacophonous "Quoting Dead Comedians," it's the lone exception to all that these folks have done right on this record. It's nice to see such a little-known band produce such a cohesive and enjoyable record with Mountains On Our Backs. Colour me impressed.

carcrashlander's myspace



Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]