Release Date: Sep 21, 2018
Record label: Bella Union
Where does a sense of quiet fit within indie folk these days? During the last decade, some of the genre's new staples--Iron & Wine, Hiss Golden Messenger, Amanda Shires--have turned up the amplifiers as they've turned toward more elaborate production. But for Mountain Man--the hushed, harmony-drenched trio of Amelia Meath, Molly Erin Sarlé, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, rarely accompanied by more than six strings and a tapped foot--it's less about finding a quiet place than forging one. They started carving out their space on their lovingly ramshackle debut, 2010's Made the Harbor, but an unintentional eight-year hiatus halted the headway.
In the eight years that have passed between 2010's Made the Harbor and 2018's Magic Ship, Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath have been exploring divergent paths, with the latter teaming up with Nick Sanborn for the stylish electropop project Sylvan Esso, and the other two pursuing solo careers. Little has changed musically for the trio (they never officially disbanded), who, on album number two, continue to weave their unembellished voices around old Appalachian folk tunes, rustic originals, and the occasional cover (Michael Hurley's "Blue Mountain" and Ted Lucas' "Baby Where You Are"). Like its equally austere predecessor, Magic Ship delivers a listening experience that's akin to eavesdropping.