words by tom johnson
photograph by mike turzanski
In the history of popular music, there probably aren’t that many 30-musician projects, which probably comes down to the fact that simply making a record with even just a handful of people manages to be a supreme feat in itself. All the plaudits, then, to Ben Morey, whose new ‘Mt. Doom’ LP is exactly that and, even more impressively, manages to be a cohesive, charming, and lasting piece of work, as infinitely small and tender as it is large and impressive.
Drawing on members of his other projects, with additional help from members of fellow Rochester, NY, bands Attic Abasement, Green Dreams, Tapehead, The Temptators, Mikaela Davis, Maybird, Northern Spies, the new record, which is streaming in full for you today, is a magical sweep of evocative Americana; a dusty landscape of swelling hearts, broken dreams, and a series of beautiful songs.
Indicative of Morey’s skill, early track “The Hill” is one of those notable gems; the kind of track that is loaded with lyrical highlights you feel must have been penned somewhere, anywhere, before such is the wide-eyed simplicity and radiance with which they leap in to the real world. It’s not all reflective country music, however. “Born Last Night” is a splash of sonic noise, vibrant and bountiful, while “Flowers” is a Darkness On The Edge Of Town-esque slice of piano-led balladry that beautifully upsets the balance.
Perhaps the record’s most impressive asset, then, is that despite all of the people involved, despite the varying little rabbit-holes so many of the tracks scurry down, Mt. Doom always sounds resoundingly of its own unique time and place. Bringing so many other voices in to its world could quite easily have resulted in something fractured and detached, but here it just all sounds overwhelmingly warm; a glorious world to inhabit for the length of these eleven songs – and long after too.
The full album is released this-coming Friday, via Dadstache Records, but you can stream the whole thing below in full right now. Check it out here: