The Pink Mountaintops

Get Back

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Opening with the fuzz-tastic "Ambulance City," a largely nonsensical lo-fi stadium anthem that falls somewhere between the blasé nihilism of Parquet Courts, the hypnotic, analog synth thrum of early Stereolab, and the erudite, classic rock posturing of the Hold Steady, the Pink Mountaintops' fourth long-player is dense, difficult, intoxicating, and bereft of a single dull moment. As hallucinogen-friendly and headphone-ready as it is willfully lo-fi, the ten-song Get Back is as spirited an outing as anything that Stephen McBean has released with his meal-ticket band, Black Mountain, and while it might lack some of that group's seismic follow-through, it more than makes up for the thunder with ample amounts of psych-fueled electricity. McBean declares 1987 as "The Second Summer of Love" on the album's second cut, a propulsive slab of nostalgia that wrestles and ultimately forces its angular post-punk framework into a shoulder-padded new wave sport coat, a trick used again with great aplomb on the dizzying Echo & the Bunnymen-meets-the Smiths-inspired gem "Wheels." McBean and company stretch those retro parameters further down the scale, flexing their classic rock muscles on the Crazy Horse-kissed "Through All the Worry" and the wistful and broken "New Teenage Mutilation," the latter of which sounds like it was delivered via a beat-up, alternate universe E Street Band that never made it out of "Jungleland." Four records in, Pink Mountaintops sound less like a ballast-blasted side project and more like a streamlined, fully functioning beast. Get Back isn't pretty -- this is a sloppy, wet kiss of a record that leaves a little sick on you -- but it's heartfelt enough to win you over and dangerous enough to wish you had told someone before you got into the car with it, which is what rock & roll in its purest form should be.

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