The Legend of Big Bend
Reviewed by Kahron Spearman, Fri., Nov. 29, 2019
Montopolis' stirring The Legend of Big Bend is original music that stands alone, while remaining part of a broader visual project wherein filmmaker David Barrow shot hours of footage with Big Bend as his subject, documenting its details and telling its secrets in a ruggedly sumptuous time-lapse video. Bandleader Justin Sherburn and visual artist Emily Lofaro captured interviews with artists, historians, scientists, and tour guides, which explains the album's grounded quality. As a cinematic ode to Texas' southwestern high desert, this farsighted project still maintains bits of the Morricone effect, more hero overlooking scenic bluffs than ominousness. Fantastic sounds lead the album with "Terlingua," where the swirls become almost Far Eastern. However, Sherburn and company have reintroduced a more substantial indie rock tack ("Westward Bound," "Marathon"). The album's most significant feature is its anti-solipsistic view. There's more than enough desert to solicit and extract a bounty of viewpoints on its expanse.