Outside Love, by Pink Mountaintops
Suggested by Stuart Emerson
I have a Suggester Leaderboard.
Over the course of my four-hundred-and-fifty reviews, I’ve spouted nonsense about multiple albums submitted by individual suggesters. I’ve selected standout tracks, cracked jokes, shared intimacies, and appended each review with a score out of ten.
For me, it’s about the music, followed very closely by the writing. I concede that, for some Suggesters, the focus is the score above all else. Understandable, I guess, as everyone enjoys a little quantification now and then.
Thus far, I’ve received suggestions from seventy-four people. It’s a goodly number, one I hope will rise as the project continues to mature. Of these seventy-four, there are thirty-seven Suggesters for whom I’ve reviewed five albums or more. My Leaderboard ranks these thirty-seven based on their average, updating all metrics when albums are added.
I’ll share the full list if requested, but for now, can you picture the Top 3? Clickbait phrasing aside, the results might shock you…
In third place is Rico James, averaging 6.80. His strongest suggestion is X Infinity, by Watsky.
In second place is Dylan Smith, averaging 6.83. His strongest suggestion is Lun, by Destiny Potato
In first place is Philip Staines, averaging 7.14. His strongest is From the Fires, by Greta Van Fleet.
Now… can you guess who’s currently propping up the table?
Stuart Emerson, averaging 4.03.
Pink Mountaintops is the apparent “solo” project by Steven McBean of Black Mountain fame. I reviewed one of Black Mountain’s releases earlier, Album 374’s In The Future. I gave that muddied and fuzzy overclocked aria a middling 5/10, which is a score that’d improve Stu’s average, but not one that’d light up the stage.
At first blush, there’s an unsurprising similarity in approach between the two albums. Outside Love tars each track’s driveway with reverb, and veneers the vocal track with an oily coat of effects, so much so that it blurs the edges of the music and creates a wall of noise that looms over the listener like a belligerent bully. It seems to have a gravity of its own, dragging you towards its dense centre; it takes concentration to focus on anything other than the noise while it is playing.
These words do not sound affirming, but there are definite plus-points. This isn’t plink, and it isn’t plonk. And, unlike the droning downtrodden buzz of In The Future, Outside Love is a much more upbeat and exultant sound, with a charming freshness that’s infectious. The tracks are layered and interesting, lyrical and melodic, and their husky dad-bod chunkiness marks them as cuddly rather than clumsy. There’s beauty too, such as in the dual male and female chorus of the strong opener Axis: Throne of Love, and the breathless sense of play in my enthusiastic standout The Gayest of Sunbeams. And that title! Sublime. The band also sport an earlier track called I F**k Mountains, and you know I’ll be checking out that bad boy down the line.
Outside Love is a fine album, even with its tendency to overwhelm the senses at times. While I fear it’s a sound I’d take in sips rather than gorge in chomping bites, I’m happy to award it a creditable 7/10.
So! How does this effect Stuart’s ranking on the Leaderboard?
4.53. Still bottom… but on the rise. Nicely done, Stu.