Mountain of Youth
By Alec Wooden
In many ways, Athens-based Gift Horse began the push behind its debut full-length, Mountain of Youth, with the odds stacked against them. Gift Horse has become something of a must-see on a local and semi-regional level, developing a worth of mouth buzz with a distinctive brand of impossibly-loud and well-executed shoegaze rock (which in itself should put them in good company these days) that wows even the most un-wowable (no, that’s probably not a word) fan. The obvious assumption working against their studio material: that captivating live energy couldn’t possibly be accurately captured, right?
Mountain sledgehammers said assumption, taking it’s time over 10 tracks and 44 minutes to repeatedly assault speakers and astound the listener into remembering the rock of decades gone that’s been so sorely missed (I refuse to compare this band to Nirvana. Damn … I just did it).
What must be avoided in a thick, dredging grunge-rock record is to allow the pace to fall dangerously slow and mundane. Mountain avoids this in style, leaning the entire record on the two strongest in the middle: “Plastic People” and “Eyes,” which share the burden of epitomizing Mountain of Youth for what it is – a near flawless collection of shoegaze rock the way it’s meant to sound.