Mt Doubt are an Edinburgh-based quintet that have mushroomed from the original one-man line-up of Leo Bargery, who since launching under the Mt Doubt monicker in early 2015 has issued a brace of albums alongside a handful of singles and EPs.
Such industry would be merely laudable were it not for the quality of output, which on the bulk of this latest EP shows Mt Doubt are on a similar page to Sparklehorse. To the fore in the elegantly messy and layered soundscape – Caledonian pop with a good slug of guitar, in short – is Bargery’s muggy baritone, a chocolate mousse of a voice that sets his band apart from their peers.
On Teeming Mt Doubt take the bones of a standard King Creosote-style anthem into a side room inhabited by a glam rock outfit with synthpop sympathies and crown it with a mighty coda, exhibiting a knack for melody that also gilds the wide-eyed pop of Conduits. Mouthwash, meanwhile, brings power-pop into the 21st century before decelerating into a chorus Mark Linkous would have been proud of. After setting such a high bar Moon Landings loses its way but it’s forgivable in light of what’s come before.
Pay attention, conceptualists: this record is aimed at you. For those unfamiliar with L Pierre, it is one of the banners under which Aidan Moffat, the Robert Burns of Generation X, releases music. (The “L” stands for Lucky; if you have a browser window open please be aware any image search results for Moffat’s original sobriquet will be NSFW.)
The concept is this: for his fifth and final L Pierre long-player, Moffat has visited YouTube and sampled a rip of the world’s first 12-inch 33rpm vinyl album, a 1948 recording of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor by American virtuoso Nathan Milstein. There are no digital versions of the album, no track list and, most disarmingly, no sleeve.
As a comment on nostalgia, technology and the imperishability of vinyl, 1948 is a measurably more succinct if less rewarding offering than such books as, say, Retromania by Simon Reynolds. As for the music within the grooves, Moffat says it best himself in the accompanying notes. “I think,” he writes, “it sounds quite lovely.”
And it does, equalling its intellectual heft with a dream-like aesthetic that, while faithful to its source, reanimates the tenderness and vivacity of Mendelssohn’s1844 composition for a thoroughly different epoch.
Reproduced with permission of Herald & Times Group.