Published Sep 19, 2018Mountain Man's hushed music makes you sit still and listen. That's a pretty powerful reaction, considering the plethora of distractions at your fingertips. But the dulcet and incomparable harmonies of Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Molly Sarle are just that captivating, luring you into a state of tranquility akin to the feeling of watching a cotton candy sunset unfurl during a warm summer evening.
It has been eight years since Mountain Man released their debut LP Made the Harbor — a timeless barebones record — and this sophomore album is of the same vein. The majority of the songs are sung a cappella, and what little instrumentation is present is softly played on acoustic guitar. In either case, listeners are able to revel in the intricacies of Mountain Man's entwined voices. On "AGT," for example, Meath, Sauser-Monnig and Sarlé tumble easily up and down the hills and valleys of their melody, while later, the trio's hushed humming in "Whale Song" feels like it's a mimicry of a whale's low frequency vocalizations.
Throughout Magic Ship, Mountain Man emphasize the beauty of the otherwise commonplace: a dinner at home with friends on the playful "Rang Tang Ring Toon" is a grand event; the "Bright Morning Stars" are a divine occurrence; and, as heard on "Underwear," hand-me-down clothes are treasured. Mountain Man cling to the ordinary, but are able to make it extraordinary. (Nonesuch)