ALBUM REVIEW: Moses Gunn Collective - Mercy Mountain

Friday, August 7, 2015

Moses Gunn Collective first caught my attention after watching their video for ‘Back Into The Womb’. Though they’re visually captivating, their music possesses a unique hypnotising quality that is difficult to ignore. This Brisbane psychedelic quintet is doing astonishing things for the genre, and Mercy Mountain is a true testament of that. 

Opening with ‘Strawberry’, the track is an interlude into what you can expect from the rest of the release — it also sets the standard. The jam track’s only vocals are the chatter you can hear in the background and the ‘whooo’ in the beginning. The first half is frantic and terrifying, especially with the ringing synths that are similar to alarms. It then opens up and becomes spacey. The title track ‘Mercy Mountain’ takes you on a whimsical adventure - especially with lyrics like “I just want to feel like I am a woman, a good woman like you.” 

A common theme during the album is the tropical ambience they create a number of their tracks. Especially on tracks such as ‘Hole In The Wall’ — the distinctly low falsetto in the chorus of vocalist Aiden Moore is enchanting. ‘Shalala’, originally released last year, also exhibits this similar vibe. The best track on the album by far is ‘Sleepwalking’. The vocals are vastly intriguing — you can barely understand the words as they have been filtered under the magic of the instrumental. It reminds me of the drowsiness of sleeping and lucid dreaming, which is why I think it’s so effective. The track is also remarkably seductive and sensual, and it’s difficult not to become absorbed into it.

‘Desdamona’ is another interesting track, which honestly I was drawn to purely due to the name. Desdemona is a character in Shakespeare’s play Othello. In the play, Othello is determined to kill her while she is asleep. I’m not sure if there is a connection, but the track is one of the catchiest from Mercy Mountain, especially the lines ‘I’ll be fine, see you waiting in the sunshine,’ are sung over exuberant guitar strumming. 

The lead single ‘Back Into The Womb’ is a perfect example of how to combine both dream pop and psych-rock. It exhibits a swaying groove and baseline. This track is also contagious and will remain in your head for hours. It’s also another dazzling feature of Aiden Moore’s silky smooth falsetto. The key change at towards the song’s completion keeps things interesting until the very end. 

The most powerful track on the album is ‘Neighbourhood’ - the very last track on the album. Though the majority of Mercy Mountain seems like an upbeat trippy adventure, the closer provides depth to the record and the display of real human emotions. I took this track as the realisation that life can’t always be one big celebration, which eventually you have to come down and deal with the realities of life and growing up. Thus why it was effectual to leave it until the end. It’s not only the sombre words that will pull at your heart strings, but the winding guitar will also have you swirling with emotion.

Moses Gunn Collective have released a solid debut album that will take you on a whimsical psychedelic journey from start to finish. It’s the type of album that you could listen to for hours on repeat without skipping a single track. Though much of our everyday lives are like ‘Neighbourhood’, Mercy Mountain provides a much-needed escape from the dullness and tedious nature of human life. 

Written by Amy Smolcic

Moses Gunn Collective - Mercy Mountain
Rating: 9/10
Released: August 7

Catch them on tour at the below shows:

'Mercy Mountain Tour’
Tickets on sale now. Presented by Happy and Select Music.

Saturday August 15
The Northern, Byron Bay
$5 on the door

Friday August 21
Shebeen Bandroom, Melbourne
$10+bf presale & $12 on the door
Saturday August 22
GoodGod Small Club, Sydney
$10+bf presale & $12 on the door
Friday August 28 
The Brightside, Brisbane
$10+bf presale & $12 on the door

Saturday August 28
Sol Bar, Maroochydore
$10+bf presale & $12 on the door