Stephen McBean may be best known for his work in Black Mountain, but his other group, Pink Mountaintops, have crafted four albums since 2004 with the release of Get Back. McBean has been the only permanent member in the band as the act has worked as a collaborative between him and multiple artists including members of Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Cat Power and Cold War Kids, among many others.

Pink Mountaintops’ previous record, Outside Love, had some stunning songs (“Execution,” “While We Were Dreaming”), while Get Back stumbles at points and, on one track, quite disastrously. “Through All the Worry” is an early highlight: it is a sunny ballad aided by beautiful harmony work and church bells on the chorus. The seventies glam-rock stomp of “Sixteen” is pure fun, yet “Sell Your Soul” is hampered by wincingly self-aware lyrics. The most grievous misstep on Get Back comes in the form of “North Hollywood Microwaves.” Guest star Annie Hardy (Giant Drag) spews some repellant lyrics about consuming bear ejaculate while McBean seems lost in a directionless rock track that can easily be counted among the worst songs in his catalogue.

Get Back is a varied album with a tone of weariness to it. Some songs work, but others seem either unfocused or ill-conceived.

By James Olson

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