Hollow Mountain, the debut album of UK-based solo artist Resurfaced Mutant, conceived by multi-instrumentalist Pete Brennan, is a culmination of rock and new wave’s best influences crossed with ingenious originality. The album contains ten distinctly different yet somehow coherent tracks, each with its own personality and a light dusting of topical relatability sprinkled in for good measure. Hollow Mountain starts off strong with a series of uniquely catchy tracks, delivering sounds that are completely new and familiar all at once before delving into deeper, more personal tunes by the second half of the album.
Track one, “Rockettini”, draws us in with upbeat, new wave instrumentals and a catchy guitar riff, coupled with strong, piercing vocals. Full of Bowie-meets-Cure sounds and escape-the-world vibes, this track sets the tone for the album. “Take my truth, take my lies,” the lyrics plead. “Blow me away on my rockettini.” In a day and age where life on earth is terribly uninteresting, this sentiment strikes home and becomes a theme throughout the album.
Tracks two and three build off this dystopian imagery and new wave influence with catchy yet mysterious guitar riffs and highly distorted but still melodic instrumentals. Both are intricate and sonically intriguing, independent from one another but sharing a similar sentiment about the current state of the world. The next tune, “Tangeroni”, draws influences from classic rock sounds with its intriguing bassline and distorted electric guitar riffs. Mixing it up from the previous tracks, “Tangeroni” features more intricate songwriting flush with metaphors and strong, lofty vocals.
One of my personal favorites, “Waiting” (track five), is a delightful techno instrumental track; a blast from the past in all the best ways. Complete with both retro synth sounds and real instrumentals, this upbeat tune features a strong bassline and exciting auditory details sure to get you moving. Though very different from the rest of the album, “Waiting” doesn’t feel out of place at all. Instead, it serves as a sort of sonic segue to the remaining tracks, which take on a slightly different feel than the first half.
Track six starts us in a new direction, relying more heavily on classic rock influences and a different vocal style. This particular tune is reminiscent of the Doors with its alluring percussion, prominent bassline, and ominous fuzz, yet something about the track is entirely its own. The next track, “Crows Nest,” draws in British invasion influences with its rock ballad sound. “This is the song of a girl in love,” the lyrics croon alongside simple, catchy guitar riffs and Beatles-esque harmonies, with a touch of Rolling Stones-inspired grit. Track eight brings us deeper and darker with somber, piercing instrumentals. Repetitive vocals mount in intensity throughout the track: “I can’t be trusted.”
The final tracks of the album bring us back to the status quo – a worldwide state of general boredom and despair from which this album draws much of its inspiration. Track nine, “Daily Living Skills,” is exactly what it sounds like, capturing the mundane reality of daily life under the guise of a post punk sound complete with a catchy bassline and intricate guitar. The lyrics describe, in painful accuracy, the exhausting nothingness of being human lately: “Brush your hair, wash your face, make the bed, clean the kitchen.” Rinse and repeat. “Is that all? It’s all too much.”
Track 10, “Lockdown Logic,” brings the album to a strong close, a sonically intricate tune that incorporates horns, techno influence, and catchy bass and guitar riffs all in one. The song captures the present purgatory of highly interconnected disconnectedness brought about by a technological age of social distancing. The lyrics describe experiences that resonate with much of the modern world these days: “Hiding in boxes, talking through wires, losing the warmth of the physical smile.” In just a few short minutes, this track explores the often mind-numbing effects of a planet locked down. “If it’s not in person, then it doesn’t really matter,” the harmony cheekily suggests. The track is a cynical conclusion to a cynical album, leaving us with plenty to reflect on.
Overall, Resurfaced Mutant’s Hollow Mountain is an album defined by originality, catchy-but-unique tunes, strong vocals, deliberate lyrics, and tight, intricate instrumentals. It’s a well-balanced mix of lighthearted commentary of the modern world and personal, intricate songwriting. Each track highlights a different musical talent, and each one delivers it. Though influenced by the best parts of the rock genre, this is an album that is unprecedented. The mastermind behind it all, UK native Pete Brennan, though a self-proclaimed “old bloke,” has certainly still got it.