Saturday, September 29, 2012

Album Retrospective: Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom

Album Rating: A
A year or so ago I took a trip down Mount Eerie's Lost Wisdom.  While both a problem and a blessing, I haven't seem to have found my way back.  There's nothing special about this record, really.  It's Phil Elverum, and acoustic guitar, and the beautiful vocals of Julie Doiron. At 24 minutes, it breezes by at a brisk pace. It's lonely and it's cold. More intimate than most of his other work, but still at an arm's distance away. Yet despite all of this, Lost Wisdom has a spellbinding effect on the listener.

The album opens up with the eponymous title track, in all its beauty. A minimal piece--much like the rest of the record--it features Elverum and Doiron over an acoustic guitar, singing their lush melodies to the simple yet stunning lyrics.  Things are a bit more obfuscated than they seem, as Elverum likes to keep a bit of ambiguity in what he writes. This is perfect, as one could mull over every single line trying to make sense of it all, only to come up empty handed. It is the thrill of the hunt, weaving in between lines only to realize its both an open book and a sealed chest.

The album's heaviest hitters, such as the title track, take center stage here.  But not to be outdone, the little side tracks make their marks as well.  Specifically, "You Swan, Go On," a track that lasts only a minute in a half.  In that short amount of time, Elverum and Doiron work their vocal magic perfectly.  The melodies weave together perfectly, and it simply feels like they were made to perform together.

Lost Wisdom is a brief album.  In one short sitting one could listen to the album and pass it over as a nice indie-folk recording.  Yet this reviewer has found something deeper.  For these 24 minutes hold more honest, beauty, and intelligence than albums three times its length.  Give this album an inch, and in return it will give you a mile.



1. Lost Wisdom
2. Voice In Headphones
3. You Swan, Go On
4. Who? 
5. Flaming Home
6. What?
7. If We Knew...
8. With My Hands Out
9. O My Heart
10. Grave Robbers

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