[P.W. Elverum & Sun; 2012]

Back in May, Mount Eerie’s impressive album, Clear Moon, received our ‘Recommended’ stamp. When it was announced that the Phil Elverum-led band would release another album entitled, Ocean Roar, we couldn’t help but feel excited for its release. Ocean Roar acts as a counterpoint and companion album to Clear Moon. Though one of the tracks from the album has already leaked, the eponymous track is our first official glimpse of the new album.

Stylistically, the new material is described as being more dense than the vividity of Clear Moon and that is immediately evident on “Ocean Roar,” opening with a blaring, reverberated guitar riff. It winds down to reveal more layers such as polyrhythmic synthesizers that create a dreamy bed of ambience. Elverum’s vocals are backed by haunting female vocals while the subtle percussion is pushed to the background, almost drowning in the mix. As a whole, they combine to create an ethereal environment that has a ‘foggy’-like effect to it because it’s melded together in the distance behind Elverum. At times, the male/female vocals intertwine to the point where the lyrics become nearly unrecognizable. But the effect adds to the overall nature of track while creating even more lush texture. I feel the only knock to this track is its brevity as Elverum could have made it another another minute or two long, extending the melodies or perhaps bringing back the guitar that appeared in the very beginning.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of Ocean Roar holds up as a companion piece to Clear Moon. If the former is as impressive as the latter, then Phil Elverum may be on his way to having one hell of a remarkable year. Ocean Roar will be out in two weeks on September 4th.