There’s something incredibly authentic about Alta Mira. Listening to their music is an interesting phenomenon given the current state of things because it truly feels like what-you-hear-is-what-you-get. There’s no studio trickery, no inorganic sounds, nothing excessively flashy. What there is is straight up indie pop/rock, and of a very high caliber.
The four-piece from Albany, NY, have actually been around since 2007 when they put out their first release, “The Fables and Fabrications EP”. In 2009 came their first self-titled debut album, and since then opening slots for the like of Ra Ra Riot, OK Go, Titus Andronicus or Deer Tick, quite the introduction. Now, just last week, in fact, the band have returned with “I Am the Salt”, their latest full-length effort.
Given that the music is so familiar – and familiar here doesn’t equate to generic - it comes as a surprise that they haven’t made more of a name for themselves. Alta Mira show that they’ve studied the back catalog of indie rock, the good back catalog, and have gathered the best bits to incorporate it into their own sound, an impressive feat.
Songs like “Good Enough” could maybe have been penned by James Mercer (of The Shins, for those that have been living under a rock) if he had a knack for making his songs a little more uptempo. While not exactly catchy in the strictest sense, there’s definitely tune that’s bound to stick, especially on repeated listens.
“The Elephant” is another good showing of the band’s strengths. Here, the bass, guitar, drums and vocal combo builds to more than just the sum of its parts to create another strong tune. While quiet at times, there’s some definite toe-tapping moments here. Other highlight, “Organ Anthem” is a tad more driven. The vocals tend to more of a growl, and the guitars really get a chance to shine during an instrumental section in the middle of the track before completely taking over. At times it reminds me a bit of The Black Keys, but not entirely as bluesy.
On the rest of “I Am the Salt” there’s plenty more to like if in need of a good indie rock fix, so I suggest you look no further. My guess is that soon enough those opening slots the band have had will soon enough turn into headlining times. For now, though, be sure to download “Good Enough” and listen to “The Elephant” below.