Mt. St. Helens - Of Others (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mt. St. Helens

Of Others (2007)

Two Thumbs Down

Chicago's Mt. St. Helens is a band who seemingly tries their best to ensure that each of their releases are long-awaited. Fans were forced to incubate for four years between 1999's On Time, Always debut and the 2003 followup, You Are a Ghostly Presence. Another four years later, the band finally delivers another new effort with Of Others, their third release on as many labels, but one that's focused and effective at that.

The band have enjoyed some fine comparative company with past efforts, usually having received nods to disc(h)ordant legends like Fugazi or Unwound. Here the band eschew it quite a bit -- songs like "Massive Dosage" still carry a bit of those bands' post-punk angularity, but if anything the band sound closer to the heavily guitar-driven, wandering atmospheres of someone like ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (I'm thinking Source Tags and Codes-era here). Moreover, they vocally cue up a less obnoxious, less yelping version of Hot Hot Heat's Steve Bays. Resulting is a fresh, unique sound that's accomplished and refined, if not mildly dull.

Of Others is just as compact as the band's other albums, though, breezing by in 32 minutes without any of its tracks coming off forcibly concluded or rushed. Songs can inconsistently run around the two-minute or four-minute mark, but each fills outs its length well. The longest, "Seething Is Believing" tops out at 4:40, but floats by nicely, with the band's trademark layers of hushed, strained singing and picked guitar chords. Others like "The Drink" are paced steadily and definitely come off strongly like the aforementioned Codes.

It doesn't seem Mt. St. Helens has quite built much of an audience or critical fanbase despite their now nine-year existence or so. Hopefully, Of Others begins to change that a bit.

Massive Dosage

The Time of Low Volume
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