reviewed by Jack Derricourt
Two Mountains by Nennen is a score for the melting waterways of this country. The fiery, slowly unfurling sounds of the album bring traces of Canada to mind, born out of the snow and into the longer light of the spring: lake ice, frosted highways, swiftly moving evergreens twisting at the peak of the canopy.
What’s pulling at these images you ask? Amy Macdonald’s sweet, airy layers of vocal work. The added allure of instrumentation by Matt May, Jack Derning, Eamon Quinn, and Joni Sadler; some of Montreal’s finest, playing out a release of simple sounds to rock the mind between mountains.
The cornerstone of Nennen’s delivery is the ghostly chiming of sound, and nowhere is that more present than on “4.5.” The guitar melody gives way to distorted shocks, drum emphases, and then just as easily fades away, back into a synthesized wind, a gasp brought into creation through the delicate noise manipulation that came before. Other tracks hint at the open-ended power of Nennen’s style — “Anger Cure” and “Henday” highlight MacDonald’s feathery grace in particular — but “4.5,” as the longest number, shows off just how sullen and enchanting the material can be. By the end of the ten and a half minutes, the listener has been caught up in innumerable swells, without being able to point a finger at a climax or an easing in the tension. Sustain an atmosphere for long enough, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a different world; that’s what “4.5” hits on.
Without a doubt, Nennen has an exceptional album in the shape of Two Mountains. There are many places to go with this one — I hope you send me back a postcard when you get there.
Top Track: “4.5”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*