Friday, February 19, 2021

Mountain Bloom's latest labour of love

For those of you who have been following our blog for a longer amount of time, you may remember reading about synth-pop band Mountain Bloom. Having thoroughly enjoyed their EP back in 2020, I was only too excited to hear about the release of their debut album ‘Mountain Bloom’ on the 26th of February 2021. The guys were lovely enough to give me a little sneak peak of the album so I could tell you all what I thought.

The album has been a labour of love for Mountain Bloom. Niall Coffey, Nick Ellis and Aaron Scott began working on songs for the album as far back at 2016 when the band they were in broke up. The songs themselves were written and recorded in the house Ellis and Coffey shared in Blackheath, London. Most of said songs began as a fledgling idea, whether it be a drum loop, a theme, a sound, a verse, you name it. It was from this seed they let the songs grow… or rather ‘bloom’.


Not only did the members of the band come together seamlessly to make this album, there were plenty of notable people who helped them along the way. Brad from La Dispute recorded drums for ‘Locked In’, George Lindsay recorded drums for ‘Heavy Tongues’ and ‘Ball’, and the album itself was mixed and mastered by Ryan Papahatzis, the man who runs the record label Mountain Bloom are signed to, Disc Wars. Special shout out to all of these guys, they really did stellar jobs respectively.


Having a seemingly very fluid writing process, Coffey says there were never any songs where they sat down and wrote the song from start to finish, it was more a case of development.  The process was full of surprises even for the band members themselves, adding much needed fun to the creation of the album. The goal was never to create an album per say, it was just to make interesting pop songs together and to get away from leaning too heavily on the instruments they had gotten used to writing on. That all being said, it’s far from obvious that they were ever uncomfortable with any of the instruments they used to make this music.


Listening for instance to songs like ‘Ball’, ‘Locked In’ or ‘Heavy Tongues’ you can definitely hear their experience in the percussion  and/or drum loops, the use of synths, and an understanding of how to construct music. More often than not the vocals are dreamy and softer, working in direct contrast with the content of the lyrics. While the lyrics aren’t ever necessarily overtly dark, they are significantly more so than the music. Exceptions to this rule are songs such as ‘Replicants’ where layered sounds and bass notes create a much darker tone, almost sounding dystopian. But for the most part the songs build around a very up-tempo and sweeping musical arrangement which can lead the listener to disregard the depth of the lyrics covering topics such as the anxiety of growing older, feelings of self-worth and finding one’s place in an ever-changing world.


You really get the feeling throughout the entire album that it was born out of the band members having fun experimenting and playing with sounds. I think this is especially noticeable in some of their seemingly more relaxed tunes such as ‘U-32’, ‘Waves’ (a personal favourite of mine) and ‘Returns’. All three of these have a slightly slower lead-in, but by no means does this make them boring. They are all very rhythmic with their lyricism and show good use of layered vocals to create that full sound that I think will become their calling card.

Both ‘Judith and ‘Everything Must End’ have harmonies that remind me a bit of the big sweeping sounds of M-83. However both have an understated feel to them with good uses of synths, fluttering tones in their music and interesting percussion.

All in all, great album guys. It’s out on all platforms on the 26th of February, 2021. Give it a listen and keep an ear out for these guys.

 Chloe Boehm



Image: Mountain Bloom Album Cover

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