[Album Review] Pink Mountaintops- Get Back
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by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Label: Jagjaguwar

‘Get Back’ starts off with such promise that you think, “This could be it. This could be the year’s big one.” Unfortunately, things go downhill after the first two tracks until finally bottoming out with one of the most abysmal songs in recent memory. “North Hollywood Microwaves” starts off with some garage boogie mayhem, which is all fine but you can’t help feeling that this must be heading somewhere. It is, but trust me you’ll wish you never got to that somewhere. Guest vocalist Annie Hardy (Giant Drag) starts into a rant that is not quite sung/not quite rapped. The subject matter is distasteful to say the least (it involves bodily fluids and bears, that’s all I’m saying). Even worse, the quasi spoken word part fails to bring the song together, in fact it throws everything completely off balance. All in all, the track is a regrettable inclusion.

OK, let’s go back to the good news. “Ambulance City” opens up the album with a terrific wet, slappy beat that leads into a saturated wall of guitars. For the most part Stephen McBean sings with disdain but then attacks the chorus (“Ambulance city/Station to station!”) with screeching conviction. He then relives his own coming of age in “The Second Summer of Love”, a chorus-driven garage song where the whole neighbourhood is invited to join in.

The next three tracks are examples of faux ’70’s folk/rock. “Through All The Worry” features nice guitar work but little else. The vocals get a little quirky on “Wheels”, sounding like one of those British post-new wave crooners, and McBean pretty well emulates Barney Bentall on the near-alt country “Sell Your Soul”. Following the previously noted “North Hollywood Microwaves” the band rips through a ’50’s style rock and roller (“Sixteen”) as reimagined through ’70’s glitter rock. “New Teenage Mutilation” rounds out the album’s middle section of passable, if somewhat uninspiring ’70’s throwbacks.

The band shakes off their aforementioned ’70’s obsession with “Shakedown”, a lively noise pop number. Then they close off the album in fine form with “The Last Dance”, a slow, glam-inspired droner in which McBean’s voice falls somewhere between Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) and Brett Anderson (Suede).

If the four tracks “Ambulance City”, “The Second Summer of Love”, “Shakedown” and “The Dance” had been released as an EP it would have been absolutely superb. As it is, the album could have at least been decent if not for the presence of “North Hollywood Microwaves”. However, placing that song on the record displays such poor judgement that ‘Get Back’ can only be considered an unfortunate misstep in an otherwise storied career for McBean.