Chicago’s Mountains for Clouds bring an aged touch to the new emo ecosystemon February 14, 2020 at 9:50 pm

In 2013 mathy Chicago emo band Mountains for Clouds dropped their debut album, Maybe It’s Already Everywhere, just as the scene underwent major changes. Fourth-wave emo was on the rise, and went on to become the toast of indie rock: emerging bands started selling out midsize venues that reunited indie-rock veterans often struggled to fill, and several fourth-wave groups issued era-defining albums, among them the Hotelier, the World Is a Beautiful Place, and Foxing. But by the end of the decade, that wave had crested and broken and a new set of bands were setting the pace–Origami Angel’s hyperactive pop punk, Glass Beach’s jittery symphonic indie pop, and Dogleg’s road-burning rock were beginning to take hold. In this new era, Mountains for Clouds’ relaxed but galloping guitar loops and languid, intimate melodies can either feel antiquated or come across as distinctive and idiosyncratic, depending on your perspective. On their new second album, Anxious & Aware (Count Your Lucky Stars), the three-piece prove they’ve lost none of their skill at wringing emotion out of bittersweet guitars. On the lumbering “Rememory,” front man Andrew Stefano sweetly intones lyrics about aging, self-doubt, and memory atop a stately shoegaze riff; the song’s quietest moments enhance its reflective mood, and make growing old sound like getting better. v

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