Mt. Gigantic - Old Smiler (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mt. Gigantic

Old Smiler (2004)

Friends And Relatives

I'm sort of at a loss of words at how to describe this record. At times it sounds like experimental pop á la an electric Animal Collective, while others it holds a very Sonic Youth tone to it. There are tons of layers with guitars and piano and auxiliary percussion and many voices at all times, like the harmonization on a popular Neil Young song involving the word "man" in the title (you know, "Southern Man" or "Old Man"), only these voices aren't really in harmony. Or maybe it sounds like a Saddle Creek band if they were actually good. Exciting melody lines, great instrumentation, and all around fun.

The lyrics are hard to distinguish, and to be honest, I'm too lazy to look them up in the liner notes. What matters is that they're sung in interesting layers and melodies. They shift accordingly with the song structure, which is varied, with slow parts mixing with fast parts, loud parts feeding into quiet parts, and all in all just reminding me of the way the Who wrote "A Quick One While He's Away." Because of this, songs are fairly long, generally running five minutes. Then there's the one minute and fifteen seconds "Bells," which is an acoustic track with only one guitar and vocalist. This flows into "Hey There Is No Birthday Party In Here For Me In Here I Want To Punch You," which is a near-seven minute song which reminds me of the Polyphonic Spree playing Sonic Youth.

I don't really know what it is, but I can't seem to get my head all the way around it. It's a fun album with ingenious song writing and boundary-breaking experimentation, but altogether it doesn't hit me as anything that is 100% amazing. Call me old fashioned, but I can't deny the fact that a song with a great catchy melody is more likely to make an impact on me than something that's amazingly new and different. I mean, I have tons of Sonic Youth albums and dig them, but the pop sensibility of the Ramones pulls me in stronger and gives me something to remember better. And the more I remember a song, chances are the more I like it.

Actually, all in all I would probably just like it better if their band name didn't suck so much.