mount eerie - "ravens" / by Zack Free

it's difficult choosing highlights from phil elverum’s eighth album as mount eerie, a crow looked at me. part of this is because it’s a struggle to get through the album in the first place; it’s a reflection on the death of elverum’s wife, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 35. it’s almost absurdly emotionally raw, less a collection of songs than a collection of variations on a singular idea that’s too immense to capture in full. “ravens,” however, makes a strong case, and it happens to contain what is arguably the album’s most unsettling moment: elverum recalls chopping firewood and spotting two crows gliding across the sky, immediately recognizing their appearance as an omen. in the next line, his wife is dead. it’s a testament to the artist’s incredible abilities as a poet, which are on naked display throughout the project, and the bravery that it takes to relate such paralyzing grief. it takes a certain amount of bravery on the part of the listener as well; listening to a crow looked at me is like staring death in the face

 

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