Late last year I had the chance to see Strawberry Mountain perform at Freakout Fest. With little introduction to the band prior, they stunned myself and the crowd with a set of songs that ventured across vast sonic territory. Psychic visions would blare from their PA speakers as the band stood close together, reaching over one another and playing each other's instruments. That same inspired, manic energy exudes on their latest track, "Vietnam." Fresh off winning the first semi-final round during Sound Off!, the track helps capture their vital combination of DIY aesthetics, psych rock ambition, and an underlying tenderness that holds it all together. Songwriter Carter Prince describes the song's genesis below.
"I lived in Hong Kong for a few years of my early life and upon returning and growing up in the states I had always felt particularly connected to that part of my life, despite my only memories of it being contrived through photos that my parents took. It represents a happier time in my life when my family was still together, even though I don't know how much I factually remember about it and how much was simply made up in my head over the years. The song 'Vietnam' is about the need to find an internal place of happiness and meaning moving forward as an adult when you realize the grass was always this brown and you can't cling onto your past any longer for escape."
Prince's fondness for his daydream youth is aptly captured in the synthesizer flurry of the song. The band hardly stays on one musical idea, jumping from lush VHS soundtrack drones to mind-bending keyboard attacks. It feels reminiscent of those scattered memories that Prince describes. Trying to pull apart the fantasy from reality and deciphering what's the truth and what you want to remember. It's a spellbinding take on nostalgia, one that well consume your attention and open up your own imagination. Listen in below.
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