Song Islands Vol. 2, released under the Mount Eerie moniker as opposed to Microphones like the original Song Islands compilation, is a sizable compendium of songs covering from the 2002 release of Song Islands to the present day. Coming in at a total of 31 tracks, Song Islands Vol. 2 continues Phil Elverum’s powerful and decidedly exploratory musical style. The compilation maintains an incredible sense of intimacy, even when the vocals get choral, which is on the precipice of being the rule as opposed to the exception.
From the outset Song Islands Vol. 2 is simultaneously a mix of questions and nonchalant statements. Specifically, “Where?” asks questions about Mount Eerie itself with accompanying responses. The beautiful conversational quality is present throughout the album contributing to the overall intimacy mentioned previously.
“Don’t Smoke” plays out as one side of a conversation where the unheard party is being chastised, obviously, for their smoking. The song is clearly reminiscent of Elverum’s earlier studies of mortality, a theme at least partially continued in Song Islands Vol. 2. Yet the album isn’t all so glum. “You Turn Me On” is predictably faster paced and dare I say passionate (in a filthy hipster kind of way).
Song Islands Vol. 2 runs the gamut of topics, whether it be smoking, thanksgiving, cooking and even an admonition to “Get Off The Internet”. The last six minutes or so of the compilation are arguably the most interesting. “(wind lyrics)” is five minutes and fifteen seconds of a cacophonous clashing of the sounds of wind and musical instruments, resulting in a powerful and ground shaking medley more fitting for parting the Red Sea than helping to bring an album to it’s inevitable close. “Small House” returns to the awe-inspiring conversational lyrical style prevalent throughout the rest of the compilation, ending Song Islands Vol. 2 just as solemnly as it begun.
In its entirety, Song Islands Vol. 2 rivals anything else in your musical collection. With rousing lyrics and comfortable instrumentals it makes for the perfect compilation whether you want to appreciate it second by second or are simply looking for some great music to calm your nerves without obtrusively adding to the din of life.