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Into Thin Air 

Wednesday, Sep 9 2009
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The press notes for Pink Mountaintops' third album suggest that Outside Love was inspired by "weddings in Montreal, winter, Pink Floyd's The Final Cut, Christmas albums, that one Exile song and that one Echo and the Bunnymen song, the Bermuda Triangle, being depressed in the sunshine, people who haven't made out yet but will in the future, the Everly Brothers, clowns in the ceilings, and bedrooms where skinheads used to live." It seems like a fair assessment that you could add drugs and the entire oeuvre of the Jesus and Mary Chain to that list. Just about every song on Outside Love is slathered in thick, woolly fuzz — even mandolin-driven numbers like "Holiday." Similar to the Mary Chain's Jim Reid, main Pink Mountaintopper Stephen McBean (who's also responsible for the singing and songwriting in Vancouver heavy-psych act Black Mountain) draws out his lyrics as if he was paid by the morphine drip. He also occasionally uses the services of honey-tongued chanteuses like Jesse Sykes and Ashley Webber to add a touch of sweetness to his downbeat numbers. And while he doesn't sing about dying like Jesus, McBean certainly ploughs the same dark fields as the aforementioned Scots, spinning tales of abominable exes, sin-burned angels, and vampiric lovers. After a few listens, Outside Love sounds pretty much "just like honey" — if it were spread across a bed of nails.

The Pack AD opens.
Sun., Sept. 20, 8 p.m., 2009

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Dan Strachota

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