Devon Welsh – Down the Mountain (Album Review)

by Steven Spoerl

devon welsh

Editor’s Note: There’s been a month-long gap in coverage, thanks to near-incessant travel and other extenuating circumstances. The following run of posts that contain this note will be posts that should have appeared sometime within the past several weeks. Use these posts as an opportunity to catch up to the present release cycle or to simply discover some new music. Either way, enjoy.

One of the toughest breakups to swallow over this past year has undoubtedly been Majical Cloudz, the ambient duo responsible for some of the most emotionally shattering music of the past few years. In the months that have followed, vocalist Devon Welsh has been slowly revealing projects that have had the benefit of his artistic direction. Even with those projects coming out of the woodwork, it would have been difficult to anticipate Down the Mountain, the first release under his own name.

In tone and in scope, Down the Mountain skews most closely to what Welsh was creating as half of Majical Cloudz. With the opening duo of tracks, in under nine minutes, Welsh manages to plummet listeners back down to startling emotional depths with his unwavering narratives and careful delivery. The back half of “The Movies” second verse hits especially hard, touching lightly on love and mortality in a way that feels frighteningly familiar.

None of Welsh’s emotional impact has been lost in his seamless transition to solo artist and the rest of Down the Mountain goes a long way in supporting that statement. The bulk of the record’s made up of haunted whispers as Welsh continues to explore the terrain that makes us human on an acute, personal scale. Each of these eight tracks are powerful, gripping, and, more often than not, devastating. Take the collection’s title track, for instance, about the death of a mother. Heavy, focused, and patently beautiful, Down the Mountain is a record worth being added to any serious music collection.

Stream “Down the Mountain” below and download the record here.