Album Review: Climber’s “The Mystic”
By Danica Waters
Ok. I admit it. I agreed with everyone who thought that the “good old-fashioned” album had become a thing of the past. Gone were the days of radical album covers that served as mesmerizing eye-candy while the ears settled in for an extended listen to an entire LP. But then a new CD entitled The Mystic appeared on the scene. The Mystic is different.
Created by the Portland-based indie/electronica band Climber, The Mystic goes beyond the usual twelve-song menagerie and the predictable photo-laden cover so prevalent in today’s music market. With The Mystic, band members Michael Nelson, Dean Ivester, Joe Mengis and Kyle Lockwood have gone out of their way to create an entire environment – an alternate reality, if you will – for their listening audience. The CD cover features original artwork by Michael Nelson. It is instantly intriguing, and really made me want to listen to the album. (Hey – if a band is willing to put that much detail into an album cover, gotta’ wonder what the music sounds like, eh?) I’m happy to say, my hunch paid off.
Each song is expertly crafted to create a distinct facet of a sonic gem. Independently rich in texture, melody, lyric, and groove, I think Climber said it best in their song “Stepping Into New Rooms,” I found “each (song) progressively more pleasant than the last”. No joke. The CD is nothing short of an adventure to listen to. It’s kind of like they took the best of everything and made it their own.
To that point, consider The Mystic a smorgasbord of sounds and stylings – a virtual Who’s Who of musical influences. While I would think myself smart for being able to tell you all the influences I could count, I wouldn’t want to ruin the fun for you, so I strongly encourage you to buy the album and see for yourself. Sometimes the artistic influences are so obvious you can’t help but smile and remark, “How’d they do that?” and, “Hey! That sounds like….” They are delightfully placed and expertly performed. Like shimmering coi in a deeper pond, the glimpses of artistic influence somehow stir and awaken memories of thirty years’ worth of some of the best indie music ever created. But these influences are only a part of what’s happening in this magical alternate reality. Think of them kind of like happy sorts of musical flashback “threads” that are woven into a much larger, much more modern musical tapestry. Climber owns that tapestry – every note, every texture, every lyric. And best of all, when The Mystic hits the playlist, every hip in the room starts to move.
02 Stepping Into New Rooms
Tags: climber, danicawaters, deanivester, joemengis, kylelockwood, michaelnelson, projectrhythmseed, steppingintonewrooms, themystic