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Mount Kimbie Find Beautiful Tension on The Sunset Violent

Unnerving vignettes of intimacy-hungry characters fighting loneliness and isolation
Mount Kimbie (Photo credit: T-Bone Fletcher)

Mount Kimbie – The Sunset Violent
Warp

It’s a remarkably confounding experience when nature’s beauty becomes warped by the context of personal life tragedies. 

“Dumb Guitar,” the first single from Mount Kimbie’s new album, The Sunset Violent, illustrates a couple drowning in their relationship and trying to find safe, shallow water while on vacation at a fictional beach resort somewhere in China. “I watch the sunset violent,” Andrea Balency-Béarn sings calmly. “Lose it all in silence / Dig a hole in my mind / There’s something on this island / That’s keeping me off-balance.” 

Natural beauty becomes tarnished by heartbreak, depression, and identity crises. Buzzy synths begin anxiously reserved, but then soon clash against intense, bloody piano and blown-out guitars. Things get blurry; the waves crash. Mount Kimbie use nature’s routine to compound saturnine emotions. 

With 2017’s Love What Survives, Dom Maker and Kai Campos were expanding Mount Kimbie as “a regular band,” bringing in more creative minds to clarify their sound. On its follow-up, they solidified that expansion as a loose post-punk group with newly minted full-time members Balency-Béarn and Marc Pell. Whereas the former felt lustrous, massive, and magnetically alien, The Sunset Violent feels more desolate and unnerving. 

Most tracks reach a near-tumultuous climax before fizzling out. The propulsive fuzz of Sonic Youth and the Fall are felt on highlights “Yukka Tree” and “A Figure In The Surf.” Elsewhere, frequent collaborator Archy Marshall (King Krule) returns to cushion the album with overcast romanticism. The guitars sound corroded and the drums feel paper thin, all while Mount Kimbie confront us with vignettes featuring intimacy-hungry characters that fight a current of loneliness and isolation. 

“I feel connection outside,” goes one line on “Fishbrain.” The outside is bedlam: “The state’s on fire / The freeways, they sway and collapse / People hide, clouds cry.” Mount Kimbie are letting their songs smolder into life’s discontent. That uncomfortable tension is The Sunset Violent’s beauty. – GRADE: B

You can check out The Sunset Violent at Bandcamp and elsewhere.

Warp