w/Yellow Dancer and the Cinch
Sat Dec 4, Fun House, 9:30 pm, $5.
Occasionally a band comes along that's so derivative yet so winning with it, you drop your reservations and succumb to their tune-pilfering charms. Exhibit X: the Pink Mountaintops.
Led by bearded Vancouver libertine Stephen McBean (Jerk with a Bomb, Black Mountain), Pink Mountaintops will push many familiar buttons in those steeped in music history. But even if you're ignorant of the rock canon, the Pink Mountaintops' self-titled 2004 debut disc (Jagjaguwar) will likely strike a deep chord--especially if you dig songs about sex.
Album opener "Bad Boogie Ballin'" sounds like a ZZ Top title and features McBean's perfect Billy Gibbons "ow"s to boot. But its chintzy drum-machine beat, shaky hurdy-gurdy drones, and bass riff from Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" actually sound more like a new wave odd ditty sung by an unselfconscious white soul vocalist. The hilariously titled "Rock'n'Roll Fantasy" is a surprisingly lilting, languid soul ballad buttressed by Amber Webber's silky female backing vocals. But the joke--and his own jizz--is on McBean by song's end.
The raunchiness continues on "I (Fuck) Mountains" and "Sweet '69." The former evokes Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac with its eerie, sparse blues, and proves McBean's ability to create moving ballads with a few easy chords and minimal instrumentation. The latter uses a Bo Diddley beat and lo-fi, Billy Childish guitars to build an enveloping chug. Pink Mountaintops concludes with PM transforming Joy Division's "Atmosphere"--one of history's most solemn, icily beautiful songs--into a drunken garage jam that teeters between "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "What Goes On." Even Ian Curtis worshippers would have to smile at its audacity.