Mountains

Mountains

5.0 1
by Mary Timony
     
 
Mary Timony has been a darling of the underground scene for the better part of the '90s, thanks to her stewardship of the band Helium. Years ago Timony's smoldering intensity blew Liz Phair off stage during a CBGBs double bill, and by all accounts the Boston-based songstress hasn't lost a step, although she has made a radical shift in focus.

Overview

Mary Timony has been a darling of the underground scene for the better part of the '90s, thanks to her stewardship of the band Helium. Years ago Timony's smoldering intensity blew Liz Phair off stage during a CBGBs double bill, and by all accounts the Boston-based songstress hasn't lost a step, although she has made a radical shift in focus. MOUNTAINS bears little resemblance to Helium's feedback- and distortion-drenched early output like PIRATE PRUDE and THE DIRT OF LUCK. But this first CD under Timony's own name is a close relative of Helium's more recent THE MAGIC CITY and NO GUITARS, pursuing the same medieval art rock muse (Gentle Giant fans, you're finally free to emerge from the closet!). Betraying her extensive classical training, Timony provides all the instrumentation except drums, pushing attention toward sparse piano, harpsichord, and cleanly picked guitar. Her mystical themes and off-kilter, piano-driven melodic sensibility may also strike a chord with fans of Tori Amos. Despite its mannered veneer and evocations of Olde England, MOUNTAINS harbors an undercurrent of sinister tension (as has most of Helium's work) that would make you think twice about crossing Timony. "We've got a plan and we're gonna do bad," she dryly intones on "The Golden Fruit." Somehow you believe her.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Continuing the mystical, prog rock vibe of Helium's No Guitars and Magic City, Mary Timony conjures up Mountains, a collection of songs more akin to the Brothers Grimm's stories or C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia than anything in contemporary indie rock. Sparkling vibes, flutes, woozy vintage keyboards, and mandolins give songs like "The Bell," "Whisper From the Tree," and "An-Deluzion" a distant, dreamlike quality, which is the album's greatest strength and weakness; this collection of spooky girl music is so fragile and insular that it demands the listener's full attention, and some people -- Helium fans included -- may not want to put in that much effort. That's their loss, though, because on repeated listening, delicately gripping piano ballads like "Dungeon Dance" and "I Fire Myself " reveal themselves as songs of sadness, frustration, and hope couched in fairy-tale terms, while "Poison Moon," "Rider on the Stormy Sea," and "The Golden Fruit" are subversive rockers from a damsel in exile, not distress. The dreamy, elastic guitar workouts on "The Valley of 1,000 Perfumes" and "Tiger Rising" recall Helium's Pirate Prude, but Mountains has a closer sisterhood with Cindy Dall's Untitled -- another album of witchy chamber rock that is often hypnotic, if you're a willing subject.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2000
Label:
Matador Records
UPC:
0744861036326
catalogNumber:
10363

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Mountains 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Upon first review of this album, 'Mountains' may barely score 2 stars from the listener. Timony's previous band and project, Helium, was such a tour de force-- yet easily one of the most overlooked alternative bands in the 90's. That may be the story of Timony's life. She is just so damn underrated. After a few listens, 'Mountains' is incredibly deep. Perhaps, a bit medieval too, sure. Though a lo-fi produced album, the guitars are rich, the piano: pensive, and her voice as full as ever. Her opener "The Dungeon Dance" is a quick, simple piano and voice number. And when she whispers- everything slowly comes to a halt, yourself included. Other fine examples on the album (though essentially each song is), are "I Fire Myself" which though incredibly catchy, is really more disturbing lyrically. "The Hour Glass" is quite a standout, merely for the radical violin that controls the song. "An-Deluzion" is spacey and plain gorgeous, while the closer "Rider on the Stormy Sea" can sit with the best of Helium. All in all, this is an album just needs some patience. Preferably yours.