Release Date: Apr 3, 2012
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Black MountainYear Zero(The Original Soundtrack)[Jagjaguwar; 2012]By Daniel Griffiths; May 30, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetI’ll admit it, when I first heard that Black Mountain was going to be soundtracking a movie my first thoughts were “What?!" and then "Interesting. ” Upon finding out this was going to be accompanying a film set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, I was highly skeptical: you expect someone like Trent Reznor to be doing this kind of stuff, not an underground rock band (How coincidental that the album’s called Year Zero). To serve up a final "and then" moment, turns out this isn’t even some kind of Mad Max type movie.
On first thoughts, the dark, dense music of Black Mountain doesn’t really seem to fit the bill for the soundtrack of a surf movie – wasn’t Jack Johnson available? However, when you look a bit closer, the fit looks a little more natural – it’s a post-apocalyptic surf movie, with experimental moments. Now, you can immediately see dark waves crashing down on some of Earth’s remaining survivors, as jet black synths build into a fierce crescendo, or a raging riff gallops off into a coda while on screen someone crashes out and is lost to the waves. Year Zero (the movie) is the brainchild of director and surf fan Joe G, who then invited Black Mountain to craft a soundtrack.
Less than two years have passed since the release of Wilderness Heart, the third and most concision-driven album to date by Vancouver glory-rock band Black Mountain. That relatively short span feels surprising in light of their latest release, a nine-song soundtrack for the post-apocalyptic surf film Year Zero. Combining edits of their best tunes from previous records with five new pieces that tug at the range of their oeuvre, the set feels like the sort of compulsory stopgap a band might make after years of inactivity, not at the time when you'd expect a new record.
If you were asked to pick a band to record an original soundtrack for a surfing movie, there are probably dozens of other acts who would come to mind well before Canadian heavies Black Mountain. They offer up neither the sunniest nor the most feel-good sound on the indie rock block, but the band’s music adds a cool, druggy haze to the heat-drenched, slow-motion surfing footage of the film’s trailer, so it looks like they’re probably a better fit than your hunch might tell you. Unfortunately for Black Mountain fans, more than half of the Year Zero soundtrack’s running time is made up of previously released cuts from their old records.