The lunar landscapes draping the front and back of the digipak on Mtn. High’s debut long player are a misleading cue of the music contained therein. Philadelphia’s Mtn. High is not exactly what you’d call a space age band, though Wicked Wanderer does contain enough accelerated double drumming to potentially propel the band off the floor into orbit at times. Yet, the band’s music remains grounded in a kind of rocking some might even heroically call classic at this point—though the seasoned vets will probably just dub it dated. Mtn. High prefers to refer to this breed as punk. To their credit, they do display a crude but apt approximation of punk as it came to be defined in both early ‘90s SoCal Epitaph releases and the garage rock revival of the early naughts. If we accept this premise, it places the median era of their efforts at around 1997, about 11 years too late for 2008 audiences. Admittedly, the fist-waving candor within their conduct (opener “Witch Hunting Memoirs” even engages in spelling bee exercises by cheerleading the oddly elected words “S-T-A-K-E” and “F-I-R-E-S”) elicits within me a tiny bit of aural nostalgia for a bygone moment when I didn’t take music oh-so-seriously. This warmy connection to my middle school record collection prohibits me from tossing them off completely. But while the band’s energy level might be justly paced for a few sweaty nights out, Wicked Wanderer wears out after a few spins.
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