To record his first of two albums to be released this year as Mount
Eerie, former leader of The Microphones Phil Elverum retreated to a
former catholic church turned studio In his tiny Pacific Northwest
hometown of Anacortes, Washington. Clear Moon, the first album
that has come as a result of that extended session has the unmistakable
quality of an album that was recorded as a personal statement.
Elverum’s distinctive half whisper of a singing voice along with the
woozy and strange usage of guitars, synths, horns, strings, and clipped
drums has an odd way of transporting you into Elverum’s backyard and
the supposedly gloomy skies of small town Washington. Elverum details
the smaller points in life: buying groceries, trying to get the car to start,
but his poetic voice and barely there vocals make these depictions of
everyday tasks seem more like quiet prayers and somber reminders of
man’s mortality. The musical style Elverum has developed is instantly
recognizable as the tracks are beautiful in ways that don’t seem obvious,
as in the plodding hum of “Through the Trees pt. 2” and the hushed intimacy
of “The Place I Live”. Mount Eerie stretches out as well with the ominous
horns of “Lone Bell”, the gnarled drone of “House Shape”, and the booming
crunch of “Over Dark Water”. The album’s centerpiece is its sprawling title
track as a veritable ocean of synth drones washes over the listener while
drums and cymbals crash like waves against the Washington coast line.
Clear Moon is an intimate, honest statement from Phil Elverum’s Mount Eerie
that communicates heavy universal themes in a style that feels softly
understated, something Elverum has certainly mastered at this point.