Three wholesome fair-haired maidens, Mountain Man couldn’t be less butch than their name suggests. Building luscious harmonies almost entirely unaccompanied, songs like ‘Animal Tracks’ echo with the warmth of the distant past, while their cover of Mills Brothers’ ‘How’m I Doin’ is dragged straight up from the great railroads. As they pause the crowd let out an audible sigh – this is music in its purest, rawest form. Lingering over every breath, ‘Mouthwings’ holds us captive in its choral folds, while ‘Rivers’’s panicked breathlessness adds an uneasy tension. Centred around Molly Erin Sarle’s ragged gasps as Alex Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath drive her on with sharp bird-like coos, it darts to a heady climax. Their gentle lullabies have had them likened to a female Fleet Foxes, but they are far more unique than that suggests, relying solely on the twists and turns of their three voices to draw in the crowd. Evoking the red pine forests where they were born, ‘Dog Song’ carries all the passion and longing of a grizzled old songsmith as gently plucked guitars waver through the air, permeating its warm glow to make Mountain Man seem right at home. Swapping stories with the crowd and bashfully missing the odd note, their music is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.
By Kate Parkin
Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010