Sunday, January 4, 2009
Lost Wisdom - Mount Eerie (SCQ Detox 1 of 2)
P.W. Elverum & Sun Records.
SCQ Rating: 63%
Phil Elverum’s songwriting has always maintained a faint grip on early 70s folk ideology, where the hippie-metaphors and flower-power muses were left for dead and instead replaced with introspective bouts of clarity. Much of Elverum’s best work (the Microphones’ The Glow Part 2 or the Mount Eerie EP) dealt closely with his childhood but was smartly universalized by making himself a character in a work of imaginative fiction. Five years later, Lost Wisdom retains the skeleton of his cherished fables but finds Elverum closer to ever to that early 70s introspection. Dark, brooding guitars meander over the weak hiss of these ten home-recordings that find Mount Eerie better prepped for vinyl than ever before. Julie Doiron and Fred Squires guest.
Entirely acoustic and performed by guitar and voice alone, Lost Wisdom continually flirts with monotony over its quaint twenty-three minute running-time. Songs like ‘Voice in Headphones’ and ‘You Swan, Go On’ are needed respites from Elverum’s self-seriousness, but too few tracks here deviate the isolated tone pushed by ‘If We Knew’ or ‘Grave Robbers’. As brief as Lost Wisdom is, I’m still left a bit stir-crazy from being inside Elverum’s lo-fi mind for so long. If only he closed the disc with a righteous track of confident rebuttal to all his unrequited longings that, like the front image of a cabin burning to the ground, would’ve rendered his claustrophobic introspection worth undertaking.