Review of Speck Mountain's album Some Sweet Relief released through Bella Union.
Speck Mountain exist somewhere on the horizon, just in sight but miles away from reach. Their music rolls like waves under the clearest midnight sky, meandering back and forth from nothingness. Sometimes it reaches intimacy but mostly it retreats before even reaching middle distance, lazily flowing to&fro.
Some Sweet Relief is the Chigaco four-piece's second album, and its progression from the bands dÃ©but is as minimal as the sounds that inhabit it. Lead vocalist Marie-Claire's voice barely raises above a whisper but guitarist Karl's demi-solos rarely cast a shadow on them. If percussion is present it never takes up more space than a slight brush of a cymbal or a polite tap of a snare.
With all this nothing things do tend to drag, making the album feel much longer than its actual length of 38 minutes. The band experience the same problem that Beach House did on their second album; without a lot of hooks or new ideas there is very little to stop interest waning, and this is particularly detrimental when the albums two strongest tracks, the reverb kissed gospel-blues of Twinlines and Mazzy Star aping Sister Water, lie at its close.
Whilst so much of so little may result in a good album for 'background music' you feel this is far from the intention of the band. There is a competent song-writing heart to the album, but these songs never realise their full potential in their limp delivery, and rarely warrant a closer look.