Art School Dropout Records in Australia originally put this record out in very limited, hand-made editions and now Phil's prospering label is pressing and distributing it. For a little while, before the local record plant closed down, ASD was making records that were recorded "live-to-acetate." This means that a musical group would go into the record factory, set up their equipment, hit the "record" button and start playing. When they stopped playing they would have the one and only master copy of the record.
So yeah, these songs were recorded in
one-take with no overdubs or Hi-Fi mastering. It still sounds really,
really good. Rumor has it that these songs had only been practiced one
other time on a snow covered mountain in Tasmania. Pretty cool, huh?
Like all of Mount Eerie's records, it is on white vinyl with the
lyrics and liner notes in Phil's handwriting. The picturesque sleeves
are all screen printed on recycled LP covers of various records. Mine
is "Music of Christmas, Percy Faith and his Orchestra."
ASD is the Australian home of the wonderful band Architecture in
Helsinki. Why do I mention this? Because some of the members sing and
play horns on this record! Totally cool!
Okay okay. So what are the SONGS like? Well the first one begins with
horns of moderately-deep pitches that play some sad sounds that make
you listen very closely. Then Phil's electric guitar comes in,
strumming notes that make the chords even more somber. After several
moments, a large number of voices ( Phil, AIH, and friends) sing " I
BELONG IN THE WORLD!" and the song is off on a path through the woods.
Because most of the words are sung by a large number of people, the times when Phil sings solo are made that much more meaningful and profound. Sure, he has all of his companions to help him shout "Let's Get Out of the World!," but he is all alone when he says "If you think the howling wolves that live outside the city gate will keep you from tasting the permanent snow that forever waits on the distant peak, then you hold yourself hostage and your own dogs will bite you. And the wolves will lick your wounds and the wolves will raise you... and the wolves will raise you to the summit and you will
live and taste..."
The second song is another version ( different from the Seven Songs and seven-inch versions) of " Do Not Be Afraid." Unlike the first song that had mostly voices and guitar, this track has some drums and percussion that help it to cruise along at a nice pace. The tone of this song is completely opposite of the first one; the singers are not pleading, they are comanding. The group vocals on this song are mostly female with the addition of Phil and it's nice to hear girls singing. My only complaint is that it feels shorter than the first song and does not have as many parts. This is not necessarily a bad thing at all! Although there is a good deal of repetition in this song, it grows into a mantra that you may find yourself singing for the rest of the day.
Please buy this record so you can nod your head in agreement when I say "that it sounds so beautiful and comforting when everyone sings at once."