It is no secret that Everything Is Noise loves Mountaineer; they placed very highly on list of best albums for 2020 (#5, matter of fact), and we previously had them as a Weekly Featured Artist. So why are we always gushing about them you might ask? Well, we wouldn’t for do that for anyone without a reason of course, that justification being they make some fucking stellar tunes, end of story. Mountaineer’s previous release, Bloodletting, left a positive impact that was unanimous across our team of writers. It couldn’t be more apparent that this group has an infectious and hypnotizing charm about them that is capable of infatuating basically anyone whose ears come within sonic range of the music – me included.
Now here we are, as we find ourselves only days away from the release of the follow-up to Bloodletting, Giving Up The Ghost. If you thought the magic on Bloodletting was irreplicable for some wild reason, you thought wrong, as Mountaineer’s latest effort shows them continuing with the immense, blissful soundscapes that caused you to fall in love with them in the first place – although in a slightly more direct and streamlined package. You could call it a different musical experience from the preceding album, but it is one that is still wholly unique to Mountaineer nonetheless.
At its core, Giving Up The Ghost is still characterized by Mountaineer’s lovely brand of post-metal with gorgeous shoegaze textures sprinkled in. Structurally, the songs here are more digestible and can hold the attention of those who need instant gratification in their music, serving as a gateway-album-in-disguise to introduce uninitiated listeners to the blissful magic that post-metal can provide. Mountaineer masterfully cater to both types of listeners who have a penchant either for instant gratification or slow-burner-type songs, creating these accessible pieces that are still slow and complex while also sonically luscious as ever.
Let me make myself clear that nothing is aesthetically different on this record; it sounds as pristine and serene as you would expect new Mountaineer to sound, and then some. There is just more of a focus on the tender, clean vocals and the ethereal embellishments that they add to the music rather than the doomy, crushing moments that were more numerous on Bloodletting. This doesn’t mean at all that we don’t have any massive musical climaxes on this new record, as “Blot Out the Sun” and “Twin Flame” are two examples of spectacular outro sections on Giving Up The Ghost.
The lead single, “When the Soul Sleeps”, is the perfect track that encapsulates everything that Giving Up The Ghost is about musically. The dreamy instrumentation is bound to tantalize your ears and take you somewhere you never thought music could even take you, despite following a slightly more predictable song structure. The chorus alone makes this particular song my favorite on the entire album with its leisurely pace, making it seem almost cosmic in a sense. Couple these gentle yet equally colossal vocal passages with the vibrant walls of sound heard throughout the tracks here, and you’re in for waves of absolute euphoria aplenty.
As much as I’d hate to call it a ‘gripe’, my only gripe with Giving Up The Ghost is its short length; it is 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Call me selfish, but I have an unbearable sweet tooth for the musical confection that Mountaineer effortlessly craft with every single track. I feel like a kid who is utterly heartbroken due to the fact that they’ve eaten the last of their Halloween candy, yet I am still beyond eager for the next Halloween’s worth of treats. Just when it feels like the new Mountaineer record is just kicking off, it ends quite a bit sooner than you would’ve thought and hoped it would. In all honesty, this briefness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Giving Up The Ghost leaves me craving more, making it easy to spin the record over and over again. Regardless, the streamlined song structures and shorter overall runtime make for a sweet and juicy treat, one that can hold me over while I await my next feast.
Mountaineer aren’t ones to go beyond what is capable in the world of music, but that doesn’t mean that their undeniably alluring soundscapes aren’t able to make you feel emotions that other artists can only dream of creating, as they do exactly that. This group just never misses the mark, as every minuscule nuance found within the music is brilliantly calculated to leave the most profound impression on the listener. Simply put, everything they do, they do it right. While Giving Up The Ghost may be a little shorter than most of us would like it to be, I’m sure, at least I can find solace in the fact that this album is one that you can ceaselessly experience to your heart’s content – as was the intended goal, after all.