Mountains For Clouds – Some People Buy Scenery Like This (EP)

Mountains For Clouds - Some People Buy Scenery Like This EP coverChicago-based three-piece Mountains for Clouds are a good band to listen to after a hard day at work and an evening spent writing, and you can trust that I’m speaking from experience there. This, as far as I know, is the first EP from the outfit although they did previously play together under the less evocative name CoachHouse. Released late last year, it’s a soothing collection of six pieces of gently atmospheric indie/emo rock with expansive song structures ala. Explosions in the Sky but lacking the pomp, splendour and bombast of such emblematic post-rock. Noodly Deep Elm outfits like, hmm, Settlefish are another reference point, in terms of the relaxed tone and clean guitar, as are widely-beloved melodic punk rockers Small Brown Bike for pace and songwriting.

The EP’s first song, ‘Operation Latte Thunder’, features looping riffs with the rhythm guitar and bass neatly in sync whilst the lead guitar noodles over the top. It’s instrumental – all but one song here is – and its percussion is laid-back. Occasional handclaps and distant sirens drift in and out of the song, with a net effect that can’t help but be mellow and relaxing.

‘Here Pep Pep’ works along similar lines although it is a bit more lively, and then the band slows things down for ‘Gumption’. The drums roll delicately through the intro as bass and lead guitar are introduced; dual vocals eventually slip in, gently harmonising. As with its fellows its atmosphere is dreamy and this effect is accentuated by the softly sung vocals.

Things get a little more moody with ‘This Island is Death’, a somewhat mathy song that I want to inappropriately describe as ‘angular’. Well, it’s certainly a little more jagged than its predecessors, a little more dark. With piano and minor key lead guitar it produces a somewhat maudlin effect, and with the introduction of some odd synth effects – which sounds a little like a digital panpipe – and a big, fat (read: medium, chubby, but in the context of this record) post-rocky distorted crescendo it stands out in a different way to ‘Gumption’.

We’re back to the happy, twinkly shit for the last two tracks ‘Sounds on Paper’ and ‘Sea of Numen’. They’re both good tunes; the former has more of a stomping rhythm and a healthy dose of fuzz, and the latter is more delicate and restrained with slow, reverby string picks and handclaps before it steadily builds to a close.

I enjoyed this EP a good deal and, with it being as cold and dark as it is in England in January, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Thanks guys!

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