The Mining Co – Mountain Fires

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Since their last album Burning Sun And The Atomic Power Within The Mining Co have expanded that album’s inviting alt country sound, stirring in 50s and 60s singer songwriters, retro keyboards, strings and brass.  From the start this album builds on the earlier 2016 release.  The rich voice with its baritone rumble and the strummed guitar of “Julie’s Song” has the cadence and immediacy of Bruce Springsteen’s excellent stripped back Nebraska album, or the warm intimate tones of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner.  “Closer” adds Gothic sixties groovy keyboards and a circling drum pattern that sounds like 69 Pink Floyd.  Michael Gallagher’s voice shifts as the lyric dictates from deep Nick Cave to a wonderful falsetto that again recalls the soulful Wagner.  “Against The Grain” is a slacker manifesto, detailing Gallagher’s intention to go “my separate way…always against the grain”.  This is a dark gothic anthem, a slightly less kooky Handsome Family, as glorious duet vocals deliver bleak lyrics over sparkling folk rock backing.  That sentiment informs the albums intention to veer off down the road less travelled.  “Safest Way” with a wonderful bass line and beautiful duet vocals is another album highlight.  Michael Gallagher’s vocal pure and high on the intro, sounding like Harvest era Neil Young on the chorus.  “Missing Part” adds brass and strings to the rich mix behind Gallagher’s fine vocal.  “Weight In Gold” opens with some huge Cortez The Killer electric guitar chords, one moment the track seethes with anger and rage, the next flipping in a second from raw to tender, this is another album classic.  “Laws Of Attraction” is a fine woozy gospel song, a huge chorus of voices frames a heartfelt love song.  This is a strong set of songs, rooted in the Alt Folk and Country traditions, but drawing in a wide range of sounds and sensations, creating a sound journey that twists and turns on a gentle psychedelic ride.