Almanac Mountain is an extremely remote peak in the forests of Maine. It is also the moniker of a band fronted by one, Chris Cote. The progressive-pop sounds of the band, mirror the loneliness of the mountain itself and is translated on their new record Cryptoseismology. Recorded in the depths of a long New England winter, a cold, knife-like, uncomfortable, and isolated sound permeates the record and brings a chill to the music. Lush, and vibrant with a monotone reserved for Depeche Mode, the record forces to be listened to with undivided attention to pick up the nuances that give Almanac Mountain such and fresh and original sound.
Each song is a microcosm of emotion. Album opener “My Favorite Day (Is Someday) is part avant-garde, part pop, part rock with a chorus of “I don’t feel anything much these days” in stark contrast to the sound of the music. “Lilac” opens with a Delilah Radio Program spoof, which is quite funny and adds to the super-gooeyness of the ballad, but Cote knows this and exploits it, unapologetically. “Cryptoseism” offers a landscape of avant-garde noise. “Towers” is an upbeat, piano-driven pop song that straddles the line between melancholy, disaster, and rainbows in the realm of The Scissor Sisters.lead single “Harbourside” is a dreamy walk along the canals of Venice complete with private accordion player.
There are some missteps on Cryptoseismology but those missteps are still fresh, and even though they may not work, are welcome sounds on a record full of inventive pop music. It is a record worth a listen.