Release date: June 13, 2005
Label: Island Records
Looks like this album has been sitting on the floor of the office collecting dust for a while, so the time is ripe for a review considering that It’s already been followed up! Not having heard any subsequent releases, I’ve entered blindly into this record, and That’s the way I like it. Nine Black Alps is touted as a grunge, punk, or indie band and I’m inclined to lean more toward the last incarnation but to add a shadowed edge; It’s got a very similar heart to The Strays but with a softer resolution and a somewhat more satisfying feel that is reminiscent of Nirvana.
This band named itself after a line in Sylvia Plath’s poem “The Couriers”: ?Frost on a leaf, the immaculate cauldron, talking and crackling, all to itself on the top of each of nine black Alps.? Given the name, one naturally assumes a melancholic and darkened vein to the band’s songs, and while this is a safe assumption for many of the tracks on Everything Is, there is also a very upbeat and purely English cadence to the record.
The band comes from Manchester in the northern region of England, and you can hear the nationality pouring out immediately in the same way you can with Oasis or Coldplay; English bands are usually unmistakable to our ears and I think It’s the well-placed juxtaposition between the Manchester natives and the American poetry of their name that explains the worldly atmosphere of Everything Is. The actual talent of the musicians is showcased to perfection with the electric and acoustic guitar riffs and the lowered and early McCartney-esque vocals alongside purely rock tracks; the versatility of all the band members is highlighted in ?Behind Your Eyes,? a soft song altogether suggestive of the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. The song and its close sibling ?Intermission? sit in well between the rest of the songs on the album, which are mostly of a very English rock sound.
It’s a great record, on the whole. If you are into that English sound in the vocals and the guitar, indie rock in any of its forms, or are just into something a bit different from your usual records then I highly recommend Nine Black Alps–at least this record, that is! As for myself, I’m putting the next release on my long and ever-growing list of CDs to buy. Do the same!