Mount Eerie
Now Only


4.3
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
March 16th, 2018 | 124 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: But now I notice ravens instead.

"The night palace, the ocean blurring," Phil Elvrum sings at the end of "Distortion". It's like the fragile, desperate nature obsession which defined his earlier works has echoed across his discography and bled onto the tapes of Now Only. This moment is so far away from the lyrics on the rest of the album, the un-romanticised bluntness of it all, and it puts the rest into context in a way that's absolutely essential to grappling with the album's themes. Like the castle fantasy of "Soria Moria", it's the lone marker of the places Mount Eerie came from, albums and lyrics now lifetimes away.

The titular distortion only occurs twice in "Distortion", at the beginning and to punctuate perhaps the album's most vital lyric halfway through. "Though my life is a galaxy of subtleties, my complex intentions and aspirations do not matter at all/in the face of the crushing flow of actual time". A snarl of guitar builds up and gnashes its teeth, soundtracking something very akin to an existential crisis, then recedes as quickly as it came with the blackly hilarious, Kozelekian punchline to the verse: "but she had her period and I went back to being 23". It's a masterpiece of music reflecting mood, and proof positive of the increased thoughtfulness put into the composition of Now Only's instrumentals. There's one other notable moment of humour here, the disturbingly toe-tappable melody which bounces behind "people get cancer and die/people get hit by trucks and die" on the title track. A jarring piano thump takes us back into the verse, and the joke is almost as funny as it is bleakly horrifying, looking you in the eyes and daring you to find it funny.

There's no great catharsis or climax here, naturally, but the songs are longer and more deliberately composed than A Crow Looked at Me. "Tintin in Tibet" fashions a link to the preceding album, a guitar-led ballad lurching along on a very simple percussive beat, but the other songs just as quickly set themselves apart. Of the best two, "Two Paintings by Nikolai Astrup" pivots between acoustic and clean electric guitar in a manner that approaches conventionally beautiful music more so than anything else on these two albums, and "Crow Pt. 2" rides a lilting guitar melody in defiance of the first part's static instruments. "Earth" is the weakest track, with a fairly unremarkable melody bolstered by guitar with a garage rock grimace. But there's a moment of beauty to be found in the gruesome lyrics, literally among the bones of Geneviève Elvrum: "against my will I felt a little bit of solace creeping in". The light sits alongside the dark more obviously on Now Only in general. Geneviève is full of life far more often in these lyrics than she was on Crow, feeding Phil oranges and sending letters to his cabin so they could meet for the first time. This only adds to the impact as we quickly realise we're listening to the chronicle of a whole life, not just a death, and that means there's so much more to reckon with.

Crow was ruthlessly focused on building a timeline of the world post-Geneviève, recounting minutiae with mathematical precision, marking time with that synthesised drum like a metronome, how many days and minutes it had been since the death. Contrary to its predecessor and its title, Now Only drifts backwards along Phil's ancestral family tree and forward to the future, far away as it may seem; it meanders to conversations with Father John Misty and Skrillex concerts, colouring in the entire story to better communicate the weight of its ending. If the crow was the spectre of mortality, a symbol of death re-shaping Mount Eerie's respect for and awe of nature in the harshest possible way, maybe the ravens stand for something marginally more hopeful. Maybe seeing the ravens instead is the smallest of steps towards something better. Or, more likely, Phil Elvrum saw some ravens and wrote it down and put it in his song because that's the way he writes. If you choose to look for the metaphors, there's beauty and even redemption to be found in Now Only; if you don't, there's a kind of quiet acceptance in the numbness.



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user ratings (203)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
if you put on music to 'sleep to' you are fucking retarded (3)
somethings better left unsaid, better left unheard....



Comments:Add a Comment 
coldheaven
March 16th 2018


4485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review for a great album, I'd POS this if I could

Digging: Gleemer - Anymore

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 16th 2018


27712 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

You've become one hell of a writer man (not that you weren't always good). Convinced me to check this out even though I hated A Crow Looked at Me. I'll be revisiting that too though, and going in succession.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

AsleepInTheBack
March 16th 2018


5864 Comments


wonderful writing.
will check this when I find a moment of quiet.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2018


40581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

ahh cheers bois

Digging: Alkaline Trio - Is This Thing Cursed?

rabidfish
March 16th 2018


4009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

glad to see i'm not the only void-hearted bastard that found the truck-hitting joke funny.

Digging: Foodman - Aru Otoko No Densetsu

Poxy
March 16th 2018


140 Comments


Nice review, I'll have to check this out

ZippaThaRippa
March 16th 2018


10438 Comments


Cool

bigguytoo9
March 16th 2018


465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loved the last album to bits, cant wait to hear this one in full.

Evenoss
March 16th 2018


256 Comments


"Tintin in Tibet" ? Interesting.

Gyromania
March 16th 2018


25798 Comments


this is a great review. one thing: commas and periods go inside of quotations

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2018


40581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

British English actually tends to have them outside of the quotation marks in my experience. Not sure there's a consensus on the correct way but ending a sentence with "Distortion." for example just looks wrong to me



edit: oh and cheers

Astral Abortis
March 16th 2018


6736 Comments


Yeah, trve English has commas and periods outside the quotation marks. None of this Americanised crap.

DoofusWainwright
March 16th 2018


20003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I'm having the reaction a lot of people had for 'A Crow' for this...my heart goes out, but I'm not sure I need another near-identical album. Think I'll skip rating this for now.

DoofusWainwright
March 16th 2018


20003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

One thing I'll say...people take the mick out of Kozelek's new approach.



On the evidence of this particular album and a track like 'Distortion' - Kozelek is way more engaging. Which is sad considering the subject matter, etc.

ButtBoy
March 16th 2018


622 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listened to a Mount Eerie song where Phil says "Skrillex" two separate times. Not really sure how I feel about that.

Essence
March 16th 2018


6220 Comments


gonna take the right mood to listen to this one, i still can't listen to Crow very much

JesperL
March 16th 2018


280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

started listening to this but realised it probably requires the same listening mood as a crow. I'll just wait til I'm sad and want to get very sad.

Digging: The Daysleepers - Creation

Darius
March 16th 2018


17531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Commenting to save thread for later, relistening to crow to prepare for this

Cormano
March 16th 2018


1282 Comments


sweet

ButtBoy
March 16th 2018


622 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

At one point in the middle of this thing, I realized...he's literally just rambling and writing about a day in his life without any rhyme scheme, rhythm, purpose...and then I realized that's pretty much what Crow was too. And the subject matter is exactly the same. I hope this style doesn't define the rest of his career.



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