CodaSouth of Salem came out of nowhere. A dormant doom band of little note recruited an unknown female soul singer, and suddenly they were a legitimately one-of-a-kind band. Not only that, but a compelling one, who garnered a whole lot of attention. Cauldron of the Wild expanded their palette even further. In the three years since, I don't think anyone has once come close to Witch Mountain's sound.
Unfortunately, singer Uta Plotkin will be leaving the band after this week, two days before this album is set to release. Mobile of Angels will serve as epitaph--or, at the least, the end of a remarkable chapter in the band's career. This is the band that got me to go to live shows again* (on occasion), so you might guess that this departure means a lot to me. It does. So perhaps it's my own feelings on the subject, but the new record reads as a sad farewell.
Don't get it wrong--opener "Physcho Animundi" is all kinds of dramatic tension-building, and "Can't Settle" fully capitalizes on the slow, simmering swagger of Plotkin's smoky pipes. But the wind gets let out with "Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)," which is a wonderfully smooth, restrained song. That would be nice if followed by something bigger and packing a bit more punch, but unfortunately the title track (an interlude at best) does not provide that punch, nor does closer "The Shape Truth Takes."
That final track is a solemn coda to a very exciting run with Witch Mountain and Uta Plotkin, a combination that I will miss. If only it had gone out with more of a bang.
The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars
* Also, Plotkin is a total class act. Very cool, very earnest, and very awesome. I'm looking forward to what she (and the remainder of Witch Mountain) will do next.