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Mountaineer — When The Air Is Bright They Shine (2006)

 Mountaineer — When The Air Is Bright They Shine (October 02, 2006)

Mountaineer — When The Air Is Bright They Shine
•   Sun-drenched paradise, taking cues from classic 60s and 70s folk-rock and bossa!
•   Diversifying its already wildly eclectic roster, Type now unleashes a breezy indie band. It sounds like radio-lovin' Chicago, but When the Air is actually the work of Hamburg-based Henning Wandoff and his like-minded collaborators. With 10 songs in 37 minutes, this is a near-perfect realization of skewed indie pop, with deftly placed, aurally engaging instrumentation and Henning's voice, which glides from gruffness to sweetness, intermittently buttressed by that of a breathy girl. The air is warm, and Mountaineer shines brightly. (Brion Paul)
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Album release: October 02, 2006
Record Label: Type Records
Duration:     37:12
01 A Town Called Ivanhoe     3:19
02 A Line for Every Letter     3:52
03 Eliza (A day for Every Hour)     4:24
04 Don't you miss her     4:06
05 Leave it all Behind     3:48
06 You Pay no Mind     2:50
07 Morning Mist     3:53
08 Ambassador     3:08
09 Company     3:43
10 Just a Breeze     4:09
Similar albums: Ólöf Arnalds — Sudden Elevation; Bart Davenport — Game Preserve; The Polyphonic Spree — Yes, It's True; Waxahatchee — American Weekend
Arranged By, Producer — Mountaineer
Artwork By — Monika Herodotou
Bass [Electric], Backing Vocals — Anna Bertermann
Co-producer — Frank Mollena (tracks: 1 to 5, 10)
Drums, Percussion, Gong, Kalimba — Fiona McKenzie
Guitar [Electric — Left Channel] — Alexander Rischer
Guitar [Electric — Right Channel], Piano — Red (21)
Guitar [Pedal Steel] — Oliver Stangl
Mastered By — Michael Heilrath
Organ, Kalimba, Glockenspiel, Melodica, Voice — Katja Raine
Trumpet — Florian Meier
Voice, Acoustic Guitar, Congas — Henning Wandhoff
Written-By — Henning Wandhoff
Companies etc.:
Phonographic Copyright (p) — Type Recordings
Copyright (c) — Type Recordings
Recorded At — Lonestar Studio
Recorded At — Alien Network Studio
Mastered At — Bereich 03
Designed At — Kabegami
Distributed By — Baked Goods
Tracks 1 to 5 & 10 recorded at Lonestar Studio, Nuremberg
Tracks 6 to 9 recorded at Alien Network, Berlin
Mastered at Bereich 03, Munich
Artwork: at Kabegami
© & ℗ Type Recordings 2006.
Distributed worldwide by Baked Goods.
Packaging: clear plastic Digipak with 12 page booklet
•   Mountaineer started out life as the project of German singer and songwriter Henning Wandhoff but soon after the release of his first album ‘Sunny Day’ he began to itch for collaborators, especially in taking his epic songs into the live environment. After a few years and a few lineup changes he was eventually left with the crack team of Katja Raine, Fiona Mckenzie, Anna Bertermann and Alexander Rischer and he could begin work on his third album.
•   Wandhoff had a specific goal in mind as he pieced together the initial skeletons of ‘When the Air is Bright They Shine’; he was listening to the classic LPs of the late 60s and 70s; 35-40 minutes, 10 tracks, every track perfectly realised and the album holding together without filler. There were none of those modern devices used to trick people into thinking they have got something a little more worthy than it really is — just pure pop music. He wanted to re-create this, but not make something knowingly retro, instead to put together his album with the same sort of high bar of quality control, to put together 10 songs that embodied the philosophies of those classic albums without actually mimicking them. After two years of work Wandhoff finally succeeded and had moulded the tracks into leftfield pop gems, raking in influence from decades of essential music.
•   The album opens with ‘A Town Called Ivanhoe’ and we’re already on the right path — the track has the best elements of Jim O’Rourke, Kings of Convenience or Jose Gonzalez, but manage to inject its own special Bossa charm which carries across the whole album. Imagine driving along a beach on the West Coast of the usa as the sun is setting and you’ll have some idea of the rich moods captured on this ten track disc. When we reach ‘Eliza (A Day For Every Hour)’ it’s clear Wandhoff has a deft skill in pop songwriting — this is a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on any self-respecting radio show, but what’s more it’s actually credible too. As Wandhoff’s soft vocals trip and tread over brushed drums and slide guitar it is simply impossible not to fall in love with the music.
•   In cynical times like these it has never been more appropriate to deliver an honest album of great music, music that makes you feel good to be alive. ‘When The Air Is Bright They Shine’ is exactly that, and its unforgettable sun-drenched moods will take you all the way to paradise and back again. Label: http://typerecords.com/
Review by François CoutureScore: ***
•   This is Henning Wandhoff's third Mountaineer release and the one that received the most promotion so far. This finely crafted yet slightly unremarkable album plays the brevity card, presenting ten songs in 37 minutes. Mountaineer know how to keep things short: no superfluous choruses, no outstretched introductions, but no sense of rushing things or cutting ideas short, either — everything is worked out for the song, and it works. This pop sensibility is framed in a largely acoustic context: acoustic guitars, understated drums, a quiet bass, some distortionless electric guitar, a touch of electric piano, and discreet back vocals. Several songs lean toward country-folk and bossa nova arrangements, a strange blend that evokes in turn Caetano Veloso and the quieter moments on the The's Mind Bomb and Dusk. But if When the Air Is Bright They Shine occasionally matches the musicianship of both these reference points, it never soars to the same artistic heights. Why? For one, Wandhoff's murmuring voice, as pleasant as it is, bears no distinctive traits. Second, the songs, as well-crafted as they are, lack the kind of catchy hooks or gripping build-ups that would make you hit the "repeat" button. And that is where Mountaineer's approach hurts them the most. Listening to this album, you cannot find anything irritating, offensive, or wrong with its ten songs (and none of them is subpar), yet you do not feel compelled to listen to it again. There is such a thing as being too understated. Highlights include "A Town Called Ivanhoe" and "Eliza (A Day for Every Hour)," but at the end of the day, neither these songs nor the other ones will leave you marked.
Album Moods: Stately Complex Bittersweet Cheerful Earnest Happy Literate Playful Reflective Sophisticated Whimsical Confident Intimate Earthy Melancholy Poignant Reserved Freewheeling Quirky Summery
In italian:
7.2  Edoardo Bridda
•   Soul bianco e country vellutato. Ghiaccio a traboccare e un pizzico di deserto, brezze twang, un’oliva funk. Una miscela che profuma d’esotico, sole mare per un piccolo pubblico assonnato a riva. When The Air is Bright They Shine, lo dice già il titolo, è pop elegantemente classico, un po’ Lambchop in bossa un po’ Chris Rea e Chris Isaak. Crooning affogato tex-mex dalle parti di Howe Gelb per un album che è tutta una scoperta: quando lo senti compiaciuto si gioca la carta d’antan M Ward sotto forma di novelty song (A Town Called Ivanhoe, un country folk da cameretta per spazzole e xilofoni), quando te lo vedi già diretto verso un songwriting di genere (Don’t You Miss Her) fa capolino un duetto lui/lei tra chitarra blues e jingle jangle d’effetti bofonchiati che è un puro incanto.
REVIEW in sweden:
Maria GustafssonScore: 6
Sävligt solsken
•   De sånger som Henning Wandhoff skrivit till albumet ”When The Air Is Bright They Shine” tar inte över rummet utan lägger sig som en bakgrund till kaffedrickande och fotoalbumsbläddrande, med soliga melodier strömmande ur högtalarna. Henning Wandhoff, som startade Mountaineer som ett soloprojekt, har en röst så nära Kurt Wagners att melodierna, som tangerar Lambchops, lite försvinner i förvillningen.
•   Jag har Wagners keps och glasögon på hornhinnan och det stör. Jag har svårt för Wagners dova stämma. I teorin tycker jag om Lambchop. Jag älskar stora band där varje medlem faktiskt har en roll. Jag tycker om stämningarna Lambchop förmedlar. Även om stämningen ibland gör att jag tvärsomnar. Skivorna står tryggt i hyllan av just den anledningen.
•   Där Mountaineer tar vid dyker så något mer upp. Ett hett John Convertino-tassande och ett försiktigt Kings of Convenience-sound dränker den småbittra röst som ändå inte är lika mörk och skräckinjagande som Wagners.
•   Mountaineers tredje skiva är ett myller av ljud som samsas i ett sävligt tempo. Det soliga sitter knappast i uptempo-melodier och fnittrande tamburin-spelare. Det soliga sitter snarare i de oerhört luftiga melodierna. ”When The Air Is Bright They Shine” är så befriad från bastyngt sväng som en popskiva kan bli.
•   På ett för genren föredömligt kort album, endast 37 minuter, presenterar Mountaineer tio synnerligen välgjorda alster och att tycka om i teorin och i praktiken gör på ”When The Air Is Bright They Shine” ingen skillnad.
•   You Pay No Mind è la risposta alla ditta che fu Gelb/Calexico — ovvero Giant Sand — , una cartolina dall’Arizona come il brano che segue Morning Mist, cavallo di razza psych-rock per chitarre sciolte e briglia salda sul crooning più oppiaceo. A chiudere l’ennesima novelty in souplesse, un giro furbetto alla chitarra, un diesis al momento giusto, dettagli e poi lui vagamente Time di Prince.
•   In casa Type, Mountaineer ovvero il songwriter Henning Wandhoff e band, è un’ostrica nell’oceano ma non solo: questo è exotic pop di prima classe. Fortaken: http://dagensskiva.com/

Mountaineer — When The Air Is Bright They Shine (2006)



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