Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of the Mountain (Astralwerks)
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006
Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks)
Mark Linkous is lucky to be alive. The bellwether of respected alt-rock outfit Sparklehorse has battled addiction and crippling depression that left him barely able to get out of bed. With that backstory, Sparklehorse's powerful fourth album, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, is a staggering rebirth, a staring contest with life that ends in a draw. Cut in a remote North Carolina studio and produced by renegade artist Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, Dreamt begins with a plea, "Don't Take My Sunshine Away." It's a mellow, lackadaisical (but not lazy) intro, a wary acknowledgement of a desire to live. The wistful "Shade and Honey" feels like a goodbye, as Linkous wishes his subject well while the guitar trembles in the background and the rhythm sways sweetly. Between those extremes, Dreamt completes a beautiful narrative trajectory of a return to life and artistic fulfillment, complete with energetic highs and quiet lows, not to mention copious bleeps and bloops paired with more organic instrumentation. It's a document of a life-changing journey, and it should be essential listening for anyone who appreciates a comeback. (Friday, 7:30pm, AT&T Blue Room stage)
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