Microphones’ ringmaster Phil Elvrum has never been one for subtlety. His records have gained increasing notoriety for inventive tape manipulations and marvelously- inverted pop melodies, but his ridiculous ambition has been just as instrumental. Consider, for instance, that 2001’s excellent The Glow, Pt. 2 was a concept record about fire. It should strike everyone as only slightly bizarre that Mount Eerie, the follow-up, is an album about terra firma. Mount Eerie actually does a fair job of aurally representing the solidity and size of his subject matter. Whereas previous Microphones albums used tape hiss and mangled acoustics to convey a sense of warmth, Mount Eerie employs deep bass bubbles and heavy percussion. The change in theme and texture isn’t a problem – Elvrum never seems to run out of imaginative sonics to fill the headphones.
Problems do arise, however, when one considers the quality of the songs. Elvrum has never cared much for traditional structure, and his tendency to sound like a child improvising rhymes about wind and fire has always lent a charming na