Solar Mountain

Shepherd Express
Nov. 12, 2020
by Jamie Lee Rake
'Solar Mountain' by Boy Dirt Car
While listening to Solar Mountain, the 14th full studio album by veteran industrial band Boy Dirt Car, it’s imperative to remember where the group now call home. Though Darren Brown’s troupe of noisemakers originated in Milwaukee, they have been based in Minneapolis for over a decade now. And Solar Mountain was recorded last spring, around the time of George Floyd’s death in the larger of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.At least a couple of titles among Solar Mountain’s eight tracks reflect the violence which ensued following Floyd’s demise. The set’s sonic architecture follows suit, though not wholly obviously. When the band invokes the furor following from Floyd, the sonic interpretation is never quite so tumultuous but can be temporarily persistent or harshly evanescent. Sirens, scraping, drums in off-kilter, martial drum tattoos and found vocals (with some created to sound found?) are introduced as leitmotifs in soundscapes invoking threats on a hazy horizon. And if Brown & Co, never offer resolution or absolution, there’s an inchoate sense of hope offered as Solar Mountain draws to it conclusion. If it’s neither firm nor accompanied by an agenda, it at least infers the solidarity of community. And the community of those who have been following Boy Dirt Car for what’s going on 40 years can at least hope for more from a band who has so aptly reflected the times and their troubles.


Julie Unruly and Darren Brown , Josh Mead , Dylan Ritchie
Mastering by Tony Williamette
Minnehaha Recording Company
Recorded in 2020 in South Minneapolis Minnesota