The Pink Mountaintops

Axis of Evol

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Lo-fi indie rock is alive and well in 2006, as evidenced by the arrival of the sophomore effort by Pink Mountaintops, Axis of Evol. Stephen McBean returns once more with a set of tracks that sound akin to an amalgamation of John Frusciante's early solo work and the great Skip Spence. McBean certainly has a thing for psychedelic sounds -- it's hard not to listen to "Slaves" and not feel like you're about to start hallucinating yourself, while "Cold Criminals" brings to mind the Velvet Underground. But it's not a retro sound that Pink Mountaintops specialize in entirely, as evidenced by the electro beats on "Lord Let Us Shine," and the Sonic Youth-like guitar strumming on "New Drug Queens." And you can't get more minimalist and melancholy than on both the album opening and closing tracks, "Comas" and "How We Can Get Free," respectively. It's good to see that there are still artists out there who march to the beat of their own drummer, and could care less about penning songs in hopes of landing a beer commercial. And for that, you are certainly applauded, Mr. McBean.

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