Mount Eerie
Lost Wisdom, Pt. 2


3.5
great

Review

by While She Sleeps: [in the back] STAFF
April 19th, 2020 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched?

I’m not paranoid, I swear. But do you? Ever feel like you’re being watched, I mean. Not a ‘there’s a man with binoculars in that bush’ sort of feeling. No, I mean more of a ‘this dude keeps staring directly into my soul every time I try to listen to one of his records’ kind of vibe. No? Just me? Okay then.

You see, there’s this presence I feel every time I try to listen to A Crow Looked at Me or Now Only. It’s as if Phil is sat right there on the end of my couch, plucking away on his weary acoustic for my benefit alone. Through each vivid anecdote and astute observation he’s sat there, clearly rather uncomfortable, and he’s looking right through me. I’m being deliberately facetious in a clumsy attempt at humour (apologies), but also to make a point. Because on Lost Wisdom, Pt.2, in stark contrast, that presence has gone, and I don’t feel anything.

Again, I exaggerate – but hear me out. On A Crow…, Phil spoke with a clarity, intimacy and honesty that I’ve rarely experienced from even my closest friends, let alone from a piece of music. And for an artist who has spent most of his career crafting enigmatic, opaque collages of indie folk, that was huge. With each unadorned platitude on death and loss, it felt like we were finally getting to know the distant figure we’d been following for years, connecting with him at his most desperate. I mean, we weren’t – not really – but that’s how it felt. Whilst never a path I expected Phil to follow, Now Only continued in the same direction, hitting home with the same blunt literalism and bleak soundscapes as its predecessor. Of course then, as the events of 2016 begin to fade into the distance, what was Phil to do but turn around and walk hurriedly back down that same path? On Lost Wisdom, Pt.2 he does just that, with his gaze lifted and attention drawn elsewhere.

Stripping back the introspective self-dissection, Phil retreats into his old, reclusive tendencies. Meaning is shrouded in metaphor, with each autobiographical detail kept so intimate that the subject is often impossible to place. This level of obscurity is nothing new, having been a defining trait of Mount Eerie for years, but it is strange to be placed at arms length once more. Fragments of clarity remain – inevitably, you might say, given how rooted Pt.2 is in the events of the last few years – but the conceptual and philosophical certainly take centre stage. The fleeting nature of belief is interrogated, as Phil questions (and swiftly reaffirms) his faith in love on ‘Love Without Possession’. Grief and emptiness are addressed too, with a level of abstraction that I wasn’t sure Phil would ever return to, yet handled with the same respect and grace as on the original Lost Wisdom. Lethargic guitar lines plod along in the background, suitably formless, as Julie’s wistful vocals flutter above the mix, elevating the experience with hues of orange and washed-out blues. A gripping record it is not, given just how little there is to hold on to. Yet, given time, Pt.2 blossoms into something quite serene, as Phil dips his tones once more into the dreamy and cryptic.

When I first heard Pt.2, realising that I no longer felt the presence I’d grown accustomed to, I was disappointed. However, upon unpicking this disappointment and reflecting on the reasons for it, I became conflicted. Of course I have no right to demand any artist serve up their innermost thoughts and feelings on a platter, nor am I convinced that I’d actually enjoy another record like A Crow…. But I do miss that closeness; that feeling of being convinced that you truly know someone, even if you don’t, even if you couldn’t possibly. Yet that presence is still here, hidden beneath the abstraction and metaphor, provided you’re willing to search for it. Phil expresses himself as he’s always done: sincerely and full of heart, with little regard for how we, as consumers, might approach or interpret his work. Still folky, still intimate and still Phil, Pt.2 is a wonderful space to visit; and to be allowed to peer into his world once more – even if briefly, even if from a distance – is a privilege. For that, I’m grateful.



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user ratings (80)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
April 19th 2020


37197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great write up, I love your quirky intro because it really gets the point across and succinctly describes how I feel about his music as well!



"But do you? Ever feel like you’re being watched, I mean." -- this reads weird

Digging: Greta Van Fleet - The Battle at Garden's Gate

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2020


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Sowing. This one was a hard one to write. I tried to tow the line between light hearted and serious, hopefully I managed it.



Point taken re that wording. It was an attempt at a conversational tone, to draw the reader's attention back to the summary in case they skimmed past it (as I do, on occasion), but in hindsight it may read a little clunky.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 19th 2020


37197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it's just the question mark placement - otherwise it's fine! I loved the style/approach you took here, and I think you nailed the balance between lighthearted and serious.

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2020


13661 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love the opener on this

Digging: Julia Kwamya - Feel Good About Feeling Bad

Pangea
April 19th 2020


6244 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review. This bored me unfortunately

Digging: Neurosis - Souls at Zero

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2020


13661 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The entire remarriage and divorce thing was a surprise when listening to this

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


ah this artist again

great review! hard pos m/

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


also this is more subjective than anything and perhaps more my own personal hangup but it feels just a wee bit odd to me that you refer to listeners as "consumers" in the context of what i gather is fairly personal/non-commercial music

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2020


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

heck, I'm stupid, thanks for picking those points up parks, that's rather embarrassing ... fixed



re the consumers point, I was trying to link in with the theme of the listener's inability to really know Phil at all, that we're all just consumers of an art form in the end, but again I can see how that might read jarringly

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


i guess my problem is

even though ive used this term before for lack of a better one or without considering the implications, i'm kind of philosophically opposed to the idea of reducing the experience of engaging with art to mere capitalistic consumption

but yeah cheers, and no you're not stupid at all! prob just rushed / didn't proof read, i know how it goes. review's better stuff than what i can do, little typos notwithstanding

Conmaniac
April 19th 2020


26392 Comments


A Ben review oh yEs.

Conmaniac
April 19th 2020


26392 Comments


Super well done man, not sure this is what I'm looking for in a mount Eerie release honest but I liked pt 1 so who knows.
Where u been man missed ya

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


con this is like his 4th review in a week lol

ur l8 m8

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2020


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm for sure, i agree it's a rather reductive and crude word to use in the context, and I'm not of the view that my (other others) engagement with art can or ought to be simplified and belittled in that way, but the intent was to draw on that. Then again, I'm having to go through some mental acrobatics to make it fit having thought about it more, so I may tweak. Good God, I should show the edit review button some mercy.



Yeah writing this did my head in, just wanted to get it uploaded so I ommited the usual final proof. I shall ring the shame bell in my general direction.

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


nothing to be ashamed about

a strong thesis thats only 99% polished >>> a fully polished turd

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2020


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And bonjour monsieur maniac, hope you're keeping well.

Conmaniac
April 19th 2020


26392 Comments


I am my friend thank you.

Didn't notice your recent activity I apologize...what's promoted the recent spurt in reviews? Captivity??

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2020


7113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much, yarp, quarantine blues. Plus I've always hated my writing. I'm hoping that by knuckling down whilst I have a bit of extra time I can get it to a point where I'm happy with it.

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


29594 Comments


looks good to me mate, keep at it

Conmaniac
April 19th 2020


26392 Comments


Agreed man much love!



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