Okay. I’ll admit it, I’m not quite sure whether or not any words I’ll string together to build this album review, will ever be able to express how I feel about Paper-Mache-Mountains by Sparta Philharmonic. Maybe it’s because I’m not as literate as I’d like to believe, or that the choices I’ve made in my life as to what music I listen to on a day to day basis, just weren’t good enough to allow me to even comprehend what I was listening to.
Or, as is more likely the case, Paper-Mache-Mountains took my words, my preconceptions of music, and my insecurities on a dizzying ride and I’m still a bit unsteady on my feet from all the jumping about and dancing for joy that my eardrums were doing.
Formed in 1998 in Sparta, New Jersey by brothers Greg and Alex Bortnichak, the Sparta Philharmonic is a two-man wrecking ball assaulting the building blocks that everyone, including yours truly, takes for granted as to what constitutes a rock song. With Paper-Mache-Mountains being lathered in dense and gorgeous drums, inspired and eclectic-as-all-hell guitar work, sparse vocals, and tons of a joyful sense of experimentation and musical discovery, I think they succeed.
It wasn’t an easy listen for me, though. Ingrained habits and ideas of what I like and choose to accept into my record collection, usually keep me away from records that could cause me too think too much about what I’m hearing. Half of the time I’m throwing on music as a way to calm myself and give my mind a chance to relax from the noise and energy of my day-to-day life…
I don’t know that, had this not flown into my life by someone else’s being unable to review it, that I’d have ever heard such an album as Paper-Mache-Mountains. That, in the end, is what I think has got me so flummoxed about how to explain to someone else why I’ve fallen in love with this record.
It’s not typical rock and roll and yet it is. It is not really a primarily instrumental album and yet, despite the songs that definitely have vocals, it certainly comes off that way at times. It’s not my cup of tea… and yet I find myself constantly refilling my cup.
In the end, though, it will be the Bortnichak’s music that will convince you whether or not you want to take Paper-Mache-Mountains and unfold it into your life. I’ll be right here, though, waiting for you to come back and agree with me on how difficult it is to explain to someone why it is so good, when you do.
Go give them a listen… you won’t regret it.
(Paper-Mache-Mountains is available for purchase on Sparta Philharmonic’s myspace page, iTunes, and various local stores in New Jersey and Maryland)