There are four things in this world that I am addicted to: funny pictures of cats, good home-made jambalaya, music and television shows. Mount Carmel and the End of the World, the solo project of Moving Mountains touring guitarist Josh Kirby, kind of meshes two of those four things together, with the interesting model utilized for releasing the music.
Employing a “television”-like model of releasing one song a week with Kirby playing all instruments on the tracks, and going on hiatuses before tour, Kirby has released enough songs to last the same duration as many cable television shows. The first collection, entitled Year.01, features 10 tracks with a variety of sounds, ranging from electronic-inspired indie rock to heavy-hitting math-rock styled songs. Here is a rundown of the “episodes” released in the first collection of songs for Mount Carmel and the End of the World.
Week 1 – Pardoner
The first song, or “pilot” if you will, of Mount Carmel does a great job of establishing the sound of the project. Merging the sounds of early 2000s hardcore, a la Engine Down, and alt-rock like Biffy Clyro, the track packs the perfect amount of intensity and technical proficiency to entice fans to come back in the coming weeks. The track also introduces the listener to Kirby’s voice, which bears similarities to Keeley Davis of Engine Down, as well as showing off his proficiency on a variety of instruments, from guitar to drums to piano.
Week 2 – onceevertwiceover
The most important week of any week-to-week form of entertainment is quite possibly the second. You have to manage to maintain the intensity of the first week, while also providing variety in content to prevent the project from getting stale and to keep supporters coming back in the future. “onceevertwiceover” does just that. Featuring more math-rock sounding guitars, sounding similar to Minus the Bear who Kirby listed as an inspiration for the track, and some fantastically energetic vocals from Kirby, the track is one of the standouts of the collections and without a doubt enough to convince fans to stay with the project.
Week 3 – Dunk Tank
“Dunk Tank” features more experimental, noise rock guitars, inspired by the likes of The Velvet Teen and Rival Schools, as well as a prominent bass-line and fast-paced drums. If anything, the only complaint that can be made about the song is that it ends far too soon, leaving the listener wanting more. If that’s even a complaint at all.
Week 4 – Lake Ontario
The fourth track begins with pounding drums and a rather minimalist progression on the keys, with Kirby singing softly above the music, until the intro ends and the guitars kick in, giving the song a bombastic feel. The guitar playing during the first verse and the punchy bass-line that powers over the distorted vocals in the second help make “Lake Ontario” one of the highlights of the collection.
Week 5 – Heavy Hands
Marking the mid-point of the season, “Heavy Hands,” is a quick, propulsive track that recalls early 2000s emo like Braid and early Jimmy Eat World. The track serves as a perfect midpoint, with a great amount of energy and a fast enough pace to contrast with the more epic-scaled tracks that preceded it. The songs main riff and the heavy-hitting drums are the highlights here.
Week 6 – The Blessing
After the heavy-hitting and straightforward early-emo sound of the previous week, it makes sense that the following track would contrast from “Heavy Hands.” “The Blessing,” does just that, with an ambient, droning arrangement that recalls Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails at their most experimental, with Kirby singing softly under the music. Definitely one of the “must-listen to” tracks from the collection that shows a great side of Kirby’s fantastic musicianship that wasn’t shown before.
Week 7 – The Plan
After the somber and ambient sounding “The Blessing,” it’s only logical to come back the following week with an assertive and heavy track, and Kirby does just that. Again reminiscent of Engine Down, with a hint of Sparta thrown in, the track features some of the best instrumental work of the collection, including an incredibly catchy bass-line, as well as a great hook in the chorus.
Week 8 – Postage
“Postage” is driven by a hammering bass-line through the verses, which picks up after an Interpol-sounding riff in the beginning that repeats throughout the song. The song continues the trend of incredibly intricate, yet intensely catchy, instrumentation. The music here almost takes the wheel, with Kirby’s voice riding in the backseat. This isn’t slighting Kirby’s voice, but rather emphasizing how great and how prominent the music for the track is.
Week 9 –Tensile
As the season winds near its end, it’s almost expected that the most energetic tracks would bring it to a close, leaving the listeners wanting more when the project makes its return. “Tensile” has almost an anxiety-inducing quality to it, forcing you to the edge of your seat as you listen to the droning guitars. The track features as a perfect set-up for the conclusion to the first set, with anticipation at its highest for the final track.
Week 10 – The Ghost in Everything
“The Ghost in Everything,” is a perfect “cliffhanger” of an end to this season, featuring some of Kirby’s most raw vocals and a heightened amount of intensity. The track also contains some pretty grand-scaled instrumentation, with guitar riffs similar to Thrice and The Appleseed Cast, leading into an abrupt ending, much like any good finale of a television show.
Mount Carmel and the End of the World provides an interesting change in the way music is released, utilizing a week-to-week model that provides fans with a more personal connection to the songs, as they can follow the process as it develops instead of receiving the tracks at once in the standard way. While it is just in its first “season,” the project has kicked off with a pretty incredible collection that left me excited for its return.