[sic] Magazine

Mountains & Rainbows – Particles

Run toooooo the hills! Detroit stalwarts Mountains & Rainbows have teamed up with John Dwyer’s Castle Face for a long overdue LP of weirdo garage-psych after the latter was suitably wowed by the former on a recent tour. An hour-long double album comprised of innumerable messy tracks, Particles is the pot of gold that ensued and which the two then decided to package in fluorescent duct tape.

A document much needed for over a decade that, along with a bunch of new ragers, is composed of much of the four-piece’s self-released Dad Rock tape (originally released 2014 – the title track from which remains a gnarly guitar pile-on), it’s a sprawling, multi-faceted beast led as ever by the cheap theatrics of scene legend and Tyvek drummer Matt Z(iolkowski) – yes, the very same who gets name-checked in city-mates Protomartyr’s “I Forgive You”. And it’s his goofy and quivering, downright punkabilly croon that’s the nuclear force that binds Particles together, allowing minimal groovers to buddy up with classic-rock struts and surf motifs, four-part interludes to ebb and flow uninterrupted like sun-bleached driftwood, and blaring sax the license to roam without dominating the jaunty pummel of drums and sharp guitar angles.

Under-produced and all the better for it, the rickety running order rolls like the product of the drunken party band it is. Dirty bass typically lays down the groove while bent strings fire off like static shocks in the Black Lips mould throughout. Tempos inevitably vary as the band find a sweet spot and hone in, recovering with woozy guitar pop like the Mac DeMarco-reminiscent “Faulter” and the summery, Pixies-on-helium heroics of “Ma’am (I Like Your Daughter)”.

Matt’s mesmerising vocal takes on an unhinged David Byrne quality quite often as well, challenging that squeaky sax to a death match on opener “AM 580” and whooping and a-hollerin’ on the twanging hoe-down “I’m A Peaceful Man” – a cut that practically comes with its own flagon marked XXX. Dialling out, too, for moments of out-there bluster and off-mic laughter, Particles is also rich in melodies, “How You Spend Your Time” coming on like a supercharged Velvet Underground in prime pop mode, battered riffs on loop before an onslaught of soloing.

When most else lands around the three-minute mark, the title track is notable firstly for its seven-minute running time, then too for its scraped strings and spoken sample. Out of nowhere we’re dealing with deconstructed punk-rock, the sort that slowly coalesces into something like that of Parquet Courts, only flecked through with Southern licks. It finally explodes into the garage-psych grumbler we might expect only then to descend just as quickly into all eleven minutes of “Fancies” – its rock ‘n’ roll vibe encouraging Matt to fall into stuttering madness come the late flourishing conclusion. Spring comes late in the hills and so do Mountains & Rainbows frequently blossom with only seconds to spare as if the idea just came to them spontaneously, which, judging from Particles as a whole, it probably did.

Best track: “How To Spend Your Time”

~Particles is released June 3rd 2016 via Castle Face.~