I will say right off that bat that I can’t really attempt to describe most of what’s on this album musically. It is so diverse and complex that it’s hard to put any type of label on it. The best way I can put it is that it’s “pop-meets-western-meets-electronic-meets-classical-guitar.” Now, for a track by track:
I Am Mountain
The album’s title track begins with a lilting glockenspiel/piano melody. After a verse of singing, a syncopated guitar riff joins in the mix. But, my favorite parts of this song are, first off, the anthemic (now a word) “woahs”. But, the best part of this song is definitely the bridge. “Momentary carbon stories from the ashes filled with Holy Ghost. Life is here now, breathe it all in, let it all go, You are earth and mist.” This is, to me, a testimony to the glimpses of God that we get on a daily basis.
Beat of Her Heart
This song is based on the Greek myth of Eurydice, written from the perspective of Orpheus. The thing I love about this song is that the music makes you feel like you’re there. It’s very medieval-folk-sy. It’s a sad story and Gungor makes it even sadder.
Long Way Off
Ok, this song should be on the radio. Seriously, the melody is infectious. One listen will have you humming it all day. I love that Michael uses his falsetto (which is beautiful and makes me jealous because mine sucks) extensively on this album. The songs message is great, too, and points to Michael’s apophatic mysticism. We’re a long way off of understanding anything, folks.
Best use of auto-tune. Ever. (Except maybe Finn’s auto-tune on Adventure Time.) This song sort of establishes a theme on the album for me. The idea that we’re searching for something. The sparsity of instruments on this song is perfect. It creates a feeling of emptiness, kind of like the song itself does.
Let It Go
This reminds me of Miles Davis’ Tutu album. Synth-laden and some of the funkiest bass you’ll ever hear. This is another one the most infectious melodies of the album. Michael seems to explore his range here quite a bit.
Wayward and Torn
Ha. This is my jam. It’s so different from the rest of the album and I love it. Makes me feel like I’m on a porch in the 20’s with Son House and company. There’s some slide work on here. You’d never know that he just recently started using a slide.
God and Country
The lyrics of this song gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. It tells the story of a nation more concerned with war and guns and violence than anything else. Who knows which one he’s talking about? 😉 The highlight for me is the ending. “Those who live by the gun, die by the gun.” It’s also one of the funnest songs on the album musically. Makes me wanted to dance around.
Hither and Yon
This is an instrumental, and you’re just gonna have to hear it for yourself, because it is awesome.
You would think Michael Gungor took a classical piece and put lyrics over it. But, I believe it’s original because I remember him stating he had just written “the most difficult guitar part [he’d] ever written” and this one is definitely a beast.
The Best Part
I can hardly talk about this one because it just evokes so much emotion in me. Good job, Gungor team, you’ve made the first song in a while that jerks some tears from me.
This one is all about freedom and being able to just be. Kind of what this album is for Gungor themselves. They’re finally able to just be themselves. Even the music reflects that. It starts somewhat restrained, all synth-y and stuff, but eventually releases into an upbeat banjo riff.
This is another one you just have to hear.
Sorry for my brevity, but this album is just pretty beyond words. It is the most inspired and inspiring of their albums. And, ironically, I think God blessed this album more than any of the others because of how genuine they are through it. There is too much in the music to describe in a post on the internet. Every time I listen, I find something new, and it’s awesome. And, as always with Gungor, it’s all very intentional. My suggestion to you if you want to understand this album, stop reading reviews online and just freaking get it, because words can’t contain this!