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Mount Peru reveals broad base

Posted by Scott McLennan  May 14, 2013 10:10 AM

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Mount Peru - Is This Thing On- - cover.png

Mount Peru covered so much ground with its five-song "Is This Thing On?" that the prospect of a full-length album leaves me thinking I better pack provisions before listening to something like that.

Mount Peru conjures an expansive sound, adding trumpet, keys, pedal steel guitar, and harmony vocals to the guitar-bass-drum basics. But it's the way that the band's songwriting takes advantage of this broad palette that makes "Is This Thing On?" a winner.

"All You Get," a blast of power pop, launches the E.P. Singer Thom Valicenti stays steady and unflappable, assuring "it doesn't matter at all" while the music bounces around him accentuating the rest of the tune's rough road.

"Wallflower Power" is another shot of indie pop, highlighting trumpet and keys in a breezy melody urging you to “throw discretion to the wind.”

Then there are the darker turns on “Is This Thing On?" "Old Mountain Home" is a heaving lament, full of haunted tones and creeping sorrow. "No Sweetheart Blues" is no less sorrowful, but gets its point across with a sparse country blues punctuated with the moan of pedal steel.

"Daggers Drawn" rounds out the sonic excursions with an undercurrent of steely rock ‘n’ soul led by Matt Bowker's trumpet lines. Here, the mood is more riled than retreating.

As broad as Mount Peru gets, singer Mary Flatley, drummer Tim Nylander, bassist Alan Durell, guitarist Curtis Wyant, Valicenti, and Bowker keep a basic earthiness to their sound. Yet that Americana accent on "Is This Thing On?" is unlike others that you’ve heard.

Mount Peru celebrates the release of “Is This Thing On?” (available in vinyl) with a show Thursday, May 16, at TT the Bear’s, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge. Aloud, Parks, and Nurse & Soldier are also on the bill. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Here’s a taste of what Mount Peru is offering:

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About the author

Scott McLennan is a Boston Globe music correspondent and previously wrote a music and entertainment column for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 15 years. After seeing the band Boston in the Boston Garden as a teenager he never looked back and eventually figured out how to be a professional fan. Scott is very good at writing in the dark. This blog is an ongoing discussion about music happening in and around Boston. Scott will be leading the trek across genres looking for new releases and hot shows as well as just checking in with the people who make Boston such a great place to listen. More »
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