Album Review: Mountain King Self-Titled


by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason


Band: Mountain King

Album: ‘Mountain King’

Label: Self-released

Rating: 4.8 outta 5

In life I am a firm believer in the notion that sometimes things don’t come to you until you absolutely need them. Like when your electric bill is due NOW and you are broke. But as fate would have it, your tax refund arrives. Whew! Heat stays on tonight, baby! I truly respect the idea that no plum shall be eaten before it’s time lends itself to many situations in life, especially in those times when music saves you.

The sweetness you crave is worth waiting for, yet somehow you don’t realize it until that moment.  Then you wonder how the hell you ever survived before without it.

Lemme tell ya, I hate the radio. I reside in a mainly rural area. The choices as you can guess are very limited. New crap country radio stations, mixed-genre-middle-of-the-road-hits-from-back-then radio, classic rock (If I hear ‘Free Ride’ one more damned time!), sports, Christian worship stations and sometimes late at night right-wing talk show programs. So being caught without an auxiliary listening option can ruin a long car trip.

This happened recently to me.

Bound to the seat of the car for about an hour in both directions and I had left my MP3 player back at the house on my desk with the sudden realized exclamation of “FAWWWWK!”. A quick glance into the center console of the car and I find two CDs. The first was a horribly damaged copy of ZZ Top’s ‘Recycler’ album (it came with the car) and the second CD was a copy of the June 2015 debut album of the Illinois indie-rock ensemble ‘Mountain King and the Plateau Queen’ simply titled ‘Mountain King’. I had forgotten it was in there, with relief and excitement I immediately shoved it into the pursed mouth of the car’s CD player.

The amped up drum kick of the first track ‘Moon’ seemed to accerate and lift my car as I made my way through the winding turns and hills of southern Illinois, the soft fragrant breeze of a rare warm night in February breathed itself through the cracked driver’s window complimenting the experience. The song slips, slides and builds into intermittent percussive orgasms. Excitement at every turn!

Eventually, the song turns you loose in the lilting, comforting beginning of ‘John Coffee’. Both songs set the very undeviating mode of shifting dynamics throughout the whole of the album. Another consistency is the magnificent and moody guitar work coupled with James Beeson’s vigorous vocals.

The band draws power from a score of influences such as The Beatles, Dr. Dog, The Black Keys and The Band just to give you a general idea. There are elements of each of those groups plus much more within each track. Yet it’s entirely a unique sound. A sound they themselves describe as “Interstellar Indie”.  If there is one thing to be said about this group is that they ooze talent and exude their own kind of vibe.

The diversified ambience of the album is reflected in the songs ‘I Mean No Offenses’ and the very radio friendly ‘I Fall Flat’ and it’s extremely catchy hook, “My head ain’t feeling right, I can’t stay up all night with you.” One more definite recommended stop on the tour is ‘Crystal Ball’. From the very beginning of the song you are zapped into a swirling drum and guitar flavored cloud, tossed about and finally smacked into the powerful, operatic vocal opening of the door to the rest of the magic. The words, hauntingly beautiful come to mind, a dream. ‘Mountain King’ is truly a mighty first outing for this band. You can contact them through their ‘Facebook’ page and have a listen to a few of the tracks over on ‘Youtube’ as well. But show em support and buy the album! This is a band that the world needs to hear more of. Incidently, they have a new release scheduled soon. Until that moment arrives I will keep myself company with this enthralling introduction…to be continued.

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