Album Review: Mount Eerie – Black Wooden EP

[Latitudes; 2009]

A Phil Elverum review is a bit of a tricky thing to tackle nowadays. The Microphones recorded brilliant records, the final one giving way to a new moniker, Mount Eerie. (Then there’s D+ and so on, yes, yes) Black Wooden is a relatively quiet release, however – a small EP very similar in name to an earlier EP (or LP, according to Elvrum himself), Black Wooden Ceiling Opening.

My first experience with Phil Elverum was through The Glow, Pt. 2, and I was sold. From there I explored back into The Microphones’ discography and later got into the Mount Eerie stuff as it came. Lost Wisdom was fantastic, benefiting from the presence of Julie Doiron. Then Wind’s Poem came around, and Elverum was into black metal. This led to some loud, intense moments, even considering the static that came from earlier Elverum material. Odd that Elvrum titled it so close to that last effort; Ceiling was in step with where Wind’s Poem was heading, with tracks like “Don’t Smoke,” which truly thrashed through the shit (hear it if you haven’t).

Black Wooden is a rather different affair, as it was recorded a few years prior to Wind’s Poem. The EP is comprised of the softer, more wounded Elverum sound. This leads to a pretty simplistic listen. While strong, the EP doesn’t really boast one of those epiphanous Elverum moments. It’s fine, but easily lost amongst the vast catalog the man already offers. For a newcomer listening post-Microphones, this would probably be a smooth, undemanding introduction to his work. It doesn’t say too much for the avid fan, but I’d be wrong to suggest it’s a boring listen. “The Bottomless Pit” is a good Elverum musing, making up a bit for “If We Knew”’s borderline annoying vibe. The rest of it is just nice to listen to, if you can enjoy what it offers. In fact, it’s all just nice, pleasant and small, tiding us over a bit until Phil Elverum is ready to release whatever he has bigger plans for next.