Review: Aetherlight – Mt. Wolf (2017)

A magnificent musical odyssey by the U.K.’s answer to Sigur Ros with an alternative bent. Mt. Wolf’s Aetherlight is an emotive, intoxicating experience drenched in atmosphere and sincerity. A real gem on the 2017 release slate.

Since 2012’s stunning debut of Life Sized Ghosts, the trio that is Mt. Wolf  (Sebastian Fox, Stevie Red McMinn, Al Mitchell) have forged a career on swirling soundscapes and emotionally complex songs. For their first full studio album after the exceptional 8 track 2015 release Red, Aetherlight is a haunting and polished work that confirms them as one of Britain’s finest burgeoning talents.

Unashamedly influenced by the likes of Sigur Ros, Ólafur Arnalds and those of that ilk, Mt. Wolf fuse in gorgeous falsettos and an almost choral feel across its vocal layers. Aetherlight is all about the full experience, from its instrumental opener of intro to its headline track Heavenbound, the album is canvassing loss, being lost and finding yourself in the opaque. Refrains and reprises abound..

Deceptively stripped back at times and supplemented with the grandiose, there is rarely a dull moment across the album. There is energy and rage, intensity and frivolity, depression and passion brimming through its 13 cuts. Standouts include the aforementioned Heavenbound, Soteria, Hamburg, Bohemia, Dorji, Hex, Tucana, Starliner and The Electric.

A magnificent experience, Aetherlight is a commanding and altogether evocative work. It’s a signal of a major talent on the rise in Mt. Wolf and one of the true greats to come out of the United Kingdom. One of 2017’s best releases thus far, if you yearn to be engulfed by an album then let this one wash over you.