Few bands have been as appropriately named as Black Mountain. Indulge me while I parse this one out: contemporary bands with “black” in their name that aren't death/black metal bands include the Black Lips, the Black Keys, Black Dice, the Black Angels and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Meanwhile, Mountain was among the more influential hard rock bands of the early 70s—which means that if we forget outliers like Black Kids, Black Rob, the Black Eye Peas, the Mountain Goats and the Clinch Mountain Boys, a band called Black Mountain should logically be a heavy-rocking psychedelic outfit, stuck somewhere between latter-day acid rock and hard-rockin' late 70s indulgence. Well surprise, surprise. The only way their music would have been less predictable is if they'd worked the word “rush” into their name, least of all for lead-singer Matt Camirand's Geddy Lee-like vocal range. The album is chock-full of the odd sonic touches that characterized the Vancouver outfit's trail-blazing compatriots—organs, lasers, guitar effects and other leftovers of 70s prog.
So In the Future is what “the future” sounded like in 1978, and the title could be read as either a clever play on our expectations or a reference to indie rock's fetishizing sense of nostalgia. Whether this fetishism is a good thing—and whether there's any intrinsic, artistic merit to it—is another question for another day, although the current glut of psychedelic revivalists has made me pretty tired of asking it. Granted, you can't do much better than In the Future as far as really bitchin' stoner rock goes: “Angels” is a slow, druggy masterstroke, and the easygoing “Stay Free” makes me want to grab a lawn chair, slap on some suntan lotion and pass out on my building's roof. Meanwhile, “Tyrants” is the kind of Zeppelin-style multi-part epic that makes you wonder why songs like that ever went out of style. But In the Future is still little more than a nostalgia trip, as well as a nice distraction before the next Black Angels album drops—but I'll give it credit for making me go download 2112 on Torrentz.