Bong Mountain - you're doin' great! [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Bong Mountain

you're doin' great! [EP] (2015)

Self Released

Even at my advanced age, I try to remain somewhat aware of new local bands that pop up. When I noticed Bong Mountain showing up on fliers, I was understandably wary. The name conjures up images of long-haired men jamming out eight minute, riff-heavy odes to cannabis. Fortunately, my fears proved unfounded. Bong Mountain may call arctic Michigan home, but their sound is firmly rooted in sunny Florida. More on that later.

Before we discuss the music, I'd like to mention a really great aspect of this EP: The cover art. It looks like a page torn from an LSD inspired coloring book. It prominently features a cat with a joint hanging out of its mouth high-fiving a unicorn. In the background is the band's logo, an angular mountain with tubes sticking out of it, as well as a van with smoke billowing from the windows. Too many bands get lazy when it comes to their cover art, this is a nice touch.

you're doin' great! is the debut from this Grand Rapids quartet. It opens with "Pariah Carey", a terrible pun, but a catchy enough song. The sound reminds me of Hot Water Music or Against Me!. The vocals are gruff, and the music is just a little too jagged to be straight pop punk. "26 Caroline" is for anyone who has questioned why they continue to live somewhere cold. Most of these songs have nice melodies, buried just beneath the barked lead vocals. The lyrics tend to be more conversational than poetic.

This EP gets stronger as it goes, and really hits its stride on third track "Why You So Short?". It has some guitar noodling that for some reason reminds me of The Who's "Baba O'Riley" and AM! style background vocals. "Monday Song" is a excellent but depressing. Guest female vocals give a couple of these songs a Mixtapes feel. "Symbiosis Midwest" wraps things up. It is the longest and probably most impassioned song on the EP. It's another track heavily influenced by the bands environment.

you're doin' great! is a promising start for a band that doesn't seem to take themselves too seriously. That is not to say that they don't take their music seriously. This is a very polished recording, not a rough demo. Bong Mountain will grow on you with each listen, and I would especially recommend it for fans of the Gainesville sound. This EP is available from the band at their shows, or for a name your own price download at Bandcamp. Throw them a buck or two and check it out.