He’s prolific, no doubt, but the better of Sam McBean’s two musical endeavors is not this band, it’s the other: Black Mountain. Coincidentally, or maybe by design, the names say it all. Black equals darkness, fear, danger; mountain is power. Pink is, well, a little gay. And the mountaintop: pointy with nowhere to go but down.
On the sophomore album, McBean plays around with different forms and styles, pasting them together on a fuzzy canvas of distortion, reverb and electric effects. Within the fold are elements of goth, spooky Americana and a cheekiness normally reserved for bands like Ween. Most of it seems to work (somewhat) but none of it is particularly memorable. Let’s not mince words. McBean is a skilled songwriter and an interesting singer; yet, the Pink Mountaintops is where the lesser works tend to land.