When I was a younger man and first finding my way through the rich musical landscape of the mid-eighties, I fell under the spell of the gothic scene and, in particular, Leed’s finest purveyors of ice cool, aloofness, The Sisters of Mercy. If you know any track by them, it is likely to be Temple of Love. This was later remixed to include the gorgeous tones of Israeli singer Ofra Haza; I fell in love with this version the first time I heard it. I have been in love with that version ever since.
I lay out this rambling story to explain how gorgeous the vocals are in this new track from When Mountains Speak. Music can act as a time machine, and as I heard that vocal line, I was a black-clad twenty-something hearing that remix for the first time.
But I shouldn’t be surprised. When Mountains Speak makes music built on equal amounts of nostalgia and forward-thinking, sweetness and light, weirdness and infatuation. Perspective of Purpose is no different. Gentle, desert beats root the song, shards of guitar build delicate, arabesque structure, and all manner of electronic strangeness takes centre stage. But for me, it is the vocals which are so captivating.
And like all good music, there are fleeting sounds of other sounds and other times floating through, namely Loreena McKennit, but probably because she also mines similar Middle Eastern soundscapes for inspiration. But also, there are hints of violinist Ed Alleyne Johnson in how guitar notes are manipulated and warped into new shapes and resonate in such dramatic ways.
Lemmy from Motorhead once said that if his band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die. I suspect if When Mountains Speak moved in next door to you, not only would it flourish, but it would turn into a veritable oasis!