Ocean Roar, Mount Eerie’s second album of 2012, opens like an apocalyptic storm, organs flooding the plains and the rolling beat a relentless statement of intent. At nearly ten minutes Pale Lights is perhaps one of the most dramatic introductions you’re likely to hear. It seems that Ocean Roar is set to re-address the balance after Clear Moon’s more open landscape. The sky, it seems, has become overcast.
Mount Eerie, aka Phil Elverum, uses Ocean Roar to experiment with dramatic waves of sound, this is noise with notes. So as the track Waves breaks down from its piled high collection of distorted guitars and synths Elverum speaks softly, for a moment passed, the swarm of audio soon re-convenes to play out to its natural end.
Crouching between the mountainous passages, the ominous instrumentation, and the defaced experimentation, resides the smaller details. The title track for one is a delicate study, Elverum harmonises with the female vocal, their continual tones stretched across the rhythmic backbeat. I Walked Home Beholding is another such retreat from the outside forces – a series of warmed synths glow affectionately for Elverum’s intimate vocal.
You sense that on Ocean Roar Elverum is reacting, in musical form, to his surroundings. Titles like Waves, Ancient Times and Pale Lights all suggest Elverum wasn’t looking to present a just a simple set of songs, instead attempting to capture something far bigger. At times it’s beyond a challenging listen, in fact you could describe it as unadulterated noise. Yet for those moments when the clouds part, or when you sense you are in the eye of the storm, Ocean Roar offers some very special moments.