Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love

Before hearing the drop dead amazing “Vampire” last month, my familiarity with either of Stephen McBean’s recording projects (Black Mountain, Pink Mountaintops) was limited, to say the least. I think I heard a Black Mountain song or 2 somewhere along the way, but who knows really. All that changed pretty quick once “Vampire” was released by Jagjaguwar and began circulating around the internets. Let’s just say I’ve been somewhat addicted to this song for the past month and hardly a drive home from work has passed without it blaring out of my windows over that time. It is easily one of my favorite songs of the year. So, to little surprise I was anxious to hear the rest of Pink Mountaintops’ Outside Love, and this week I’ve had the chance. And I am happy to report it did not disappoint.

Outside Love is a really solid collection of love songs - and when I say “love songs” I mean songs that approach the subject from every imaginable angle. At times Outside Love sounds inspired by Phil Spector’s infamous wall of sound in the same way The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy was - some “Be My Baby”-like drums surrounded by strong melodies and layers upon layers of fuzzed out guitars - as on “Axis: Throne of Love”, “Execution” and the awkwardly titled but still pretty awesome “The Gayest of Sunbeams”. A sort of warped-country influence can be found in the sun-streaked sing-along “Holiday” as well as the gorgeous “And I Thank You”, while “Come Down” and “Closer To Heaven” are hazy psyche-folk at its best. McBean allows Ashley Webber to take lead vocals on the album’s most straightforward song, “While We Were Dreaming”, and she turns in a beautiful performance reminiscent of Jenny Lewis. But among all these highlights, the true standout remains “Vampire”, with its disarming vocals (with or without the backing choir), the acoustic guitar and string section arrangement, and those killer lyrics. It’s an absolute must hear. Outside Love is available now.

MP3 :: Vampire
MP3 :: While We Were Dreaming
(from Outside Love. Buy here)

And here’s a video of McBean performing “While We Were Dreaming”:


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