Music Review: listen to raw, narrative music on Mount Eerie’s “A Crow Looked at Me”
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Tragic emotional events are often cloaked in surrealist images or ideological statements. Mount Eerie, musical project of Phil Elverum from The Microphones, brings you into his house and his family and lets you taste the aftermath of the death of his wife.
“A Crow Looked at Me,” released on March 24 is Mount Eerie’s eighth studio album, and the first album in the wake of his wife’s death, leaving Elverum and his daughter behind, and this album isn’t shy talking about it.
Elverum’s lo-fi folk pop is warm and gentle. You show up to Elverum’s house and sit down with a cup of tea on a cool day when you listen to it. But, it isn’t a happy day, and Elverum isn’t hiding his emotions, you see his real emotional state.
“Real Death” talks about the intensity of death, and the truth of it. Art doesn’t do it justice, according to Elverum. “Death is real. Someone’s there and then they’re not. It’s not for singing about.” Slow mechanical beats from a lo-fi drum machine and accordion-like groans provide a base for sweeping guitar chords.
These bold-faced declarations carry on through the album. Elverum talks to his wife as plain as if she were there. “Our daughter is one and a half. You have been dead 11 days.”
He shares memories of their choosing houses together. He shares questions his daughter asks him about her mother passing away. Elverum describes his wife’s struggle with illness until her eventual death. The album is potent with emotions.
The album features somber musical chords from an acoustic guitar and Elverum’s soft crooning. Sometimes a drum machine provides a rhythm, and sometimes distorted electric guitar adds intensity to the message.
“Ravens” is packed with doom-stricken acoustic guitar melodies that illustrate the story of his wife’s illness.
“Toothbrush/Trash” walks you through the family’s house and the impact she left behind after her death, culminating in the trash that hasn’t been taken out since she was alive.
“Soria Moria” is an epic painting the impact his wife had on his whole life, following him through his journey to Norway, leading up to his staying in the hospital with his wife.
“A Crow Looked at Me” is sonically consistent, with soft music and vocals to accompany a message with a powerful impact. Over all, it is one of the best albums that I have heard this year and a good album for anyone looking for a music that is more than just a good beat.