Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
Mark Linkous has never been the picture of mental health. After releasing Sparklehorse’s debut album, Vivadixiesubmarinetrans-missionplot, he overdosed on Valium and anti-depressants and fell unconscious with his legs pinned under himself. The incident nearly crippled him and began a lengthy recovery process. His next two albums, Good Morning Spider and It’s a Wonderful Life, showed the impact of his brush with mortality, as they delivered a much more delicate and sombre sound. With the lengthy break between his last studio effort and Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, it would be easy to assume that things had taken a turn for the worse again. But from the opening notes of “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away,” it becomes quite obvious that this wasn’t the case. DFLYITBOAM is a buoyant and glowing effort, offering a much more rock-based delivery of his gentle compositions. While at times the switch feels like the shift to a more emotionally vacant terrain (similar to Grandaddy’s turn between Sophtware Slump and Sumday), Linkous’ fragile voice and dense lyrical themes keep the work infused with depth and substance. Danger Mouse even shows up to produce a few tracks. The end result is a remarkably winning and accessible album. It’s soft-rock for the heart-broken mountain-man set.