Review: Mountains Like Wax’s “Tetralogy”

Mountains Like Wax debut EP, Tetralogy, out November 6 via Watermain CreativeReview by Ellie Garno

In Ancient Greece, a tetralogy was a group of four dramas—three tragedies and one satyr—in a play performed at the festival of Dionysus.  Tetralogy is the title of the debut EP from Mountains Like Wax, the Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based, post-rock band.

Mountains Like Wax was born from the burgeoning indie rock scene in Middle Tennessee.  Inspired by the landscape of the Smoky Mountains, a psalm, and his passion for songwriting—as well as musical influences Kings of Leon, Local Natives, and Mansions—Mitchell Taylor (vocals, guitar) formed Mountains Like Wax with Samuel Katz (guitar) and Preston Vaughn (drums).  The release of Tetralogy follows a busy year of shows for the Mountains boys, offering us a slice of the Southern dish that is them live, anywhere.

Tetralogy opens with “Control,” an intricate intensification of a simple hook.  Like the rest of Tetralogy, “Control” lacks real structure; instead, it builds into an instrumental “solo” three-quarters of the way through with layer upon layer of guitar and drums.  In its lyrics, the first track also introduces the theme of running (“When I run, I’m not running out”), which reappears in the next.  

Similar to “Control,” “Contingency Theory” is, however, more vocally intense.  Taylor’s voice is distinct: breathless and shaky, in a way that sounds truthful.  Where “Contingency Theory” bores with the same riff over and over, the switch turns on at the 2:41 mark and carries until the end.

“Untitled,” the third track off Tetralogy, is delightfully unexpected.  Looong and slooow (of the sung poetry persuasion) “Untitled” stands out because of its shadow of sound bites.  

But in my opinion, Tetralogy closes with its best: “The Runner.”  The opening of “The Runner” features the same sort of guitar-who-wants-to-be-a-piano heard in the beloved Jeff Buckley-version of “Hallelujah.”  Then—at 4:20—Mountains Like Wax lets go and I, the lowly spectator, feel restored.

The EP is out November 6, but in the meantime, if you want to learn more about Mountains Like Wax, and other new artists (you need them just as much as they need you), check out Watermain Creative.

Rating: 3.5/5
Recommended Tracks:
“The Runner”
“Untitled”

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