There’s something different about Men Amongst Mountains. While The Revivalists have always released solid albums mixing soul and alternative rock music with some diverse influences thrown in, their latest album offers a deeper level of cohesion. There’s still a sense of diversity, but the defining factor is the subtlety with which it has been worked in. In the end, this subtle side is what makes Men Amongst Mountains so good.
Gold to Glass acts as a good example of this. While its synthetic drum beat and claps initially give it the vibe of an R&B track, the repetitive Latin-inspired guitar riff with David Shaw’s vocals keep it strictly in the realm of soul, with the regular drums and trumpets blending it in with the rest of the album. The guitar riff alone is enough to sell the song, though Shaw’s delivery does a lot to enhance it too. Even subtler is Bulletproof, which stands out because of its tempo more than anything. It’s the fastest song on the album, with its constant drum beat and racing piano at odds with the mid-tempo nature of the rest of the album. King of What and the title track act as the minimal tracks, with the former using nothing but guitar, strings and vocals and the latter being a piano ballad of sorts, featuring a similar accompaniment to King of What.
In truth, the album’s sound is one that usually wouldn’t be all too exciting. It initially comes off as sounding like a variety of other blues and soul-influenced rock albums. But the album is truly sold by the value of its production and the vocal delivery of Shaw, whose performance is on point throughout. By the time the album gets to the infectiously funky Move On, all comparisons vanish from your mind. It’s so good that it barely even matters.
Men Amongst Mountains is soulful rock done right. It’s a perfect example of how even little things can keep an album from sounding exactly the same over fourteen songs, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a dud out of the bunch. The Revivalists have well and truly raised the bar this time around, and any fan of blues, rock or soul will want to check this album out as soon as possible.