Pink Mountaintops: Peacock Pools [Album Review]

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Pink Mountaintops
Peacock Pools
ATO Records [2022]

Peacock Pools is the first Pink Mountaintops album in 8 years, and its creation was inspired by a wide range of subjects that includes early Pink Floyd, Gary Numan, sci-fi and horror movies and even an essay on the cult of bodybuilding by postmodern feminist Camille Paglia. That spectrum of topics is not surprising from the synergy behind the group in leader Stephen McBean (Black Mountain) and it also explains how Peacock Pools moves and shakes in a multitude of directions.

From the opening gritty glammed up cover of Black Flag’s, “Nervous Breakdown” to the hard pounding metal in “All This Death Is Killing Me,” every track represents a new canvas. There are big guitars and a memorable chorus in “Lights Of The City,” that makes it one of the catchiest songs in the Pink Mountaintops history while the new wave synths in “Muscles” and “Blazing Eye” once again shows something different with the later being very Psychedelic Furs like. “Nikki Go Sudden” was written about the passing of Swell Maps founder Nikki Sudden as its mid-tempo indie approach and emotional harmonies make it an album highlight. Another shinning moment on this record is the Pink Floyd psychedelia haze in “You Still Around?” The song is a grieving track about friends that have pass but brilliantly flows with acoustic guitar, chimes and floating synths.

Peacock Pools features a long list of collaborators that includes Steven McDonald of Redd Kross and Dale Crover of Melvins, drummer/pianist Joshua Wells (Destroyer, Black Mountain), violinist/vocalist Laena Myers-Ionita (Feels, Death Valley Girls), drummer Ryan Jewell (Riley Walker, Steve Gunn), vocalist Emily Rose Epstein (Ty Segall, Emily Rose & The Rounders), and keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt (Black Mountain, Sinoia Caves). With this type of talent, the music speaks for itself and is all top notch.

Because there are so many styles and genres here, I feel the record loses some focus, as all the tracks do not hit at the same level. This tight direction is something I think you expect from McBean’s other band Black Mountain, so it is a bit harder to accept the bouncing musical direction on Peacock Pools. I do think Peacock Pools is an enjoyable listen, especially for McBean’s devoted fans. It is also a record at this point in McBean’s career that fits into the Pink Mountaintops catalog with no issue and is a solid effort overall.

“Nikki Go Sudden” / “You Still Around?” / “Lights Of The City”

The Besnard Lakes / Ty Segall / Pink Floyd

Get Back (2014)

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Thomas Wilde

black midi – “Welcome To Hell” [Video]

Stella Donnelly – “Lungs” [Video]


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