Clear as birdsong and comforting as a campfire, "Made the Harbor," the debut album from vocal trio Mountain Man, is one of those records that feels familiar from the very first listen, but it also never shakes the elemental strangeness of human voices raised in unison.
With nothing more than their natural instruments and an acoustic guitar, Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath - friends who met by chance at Vermont's Bennington College - trade folk harmonies that float like fireflies on the summer breeze.
amNewYork spoke with Meath from the road.
What's been the most surprising aspect of your experience thus far?
Being in this band is like being in a three-way marriage. It is one of the most intimate and terrifying relationships I have ever known. Discovering that reality was extremely surprising and almost stifling in its enormity. Like most expressions of love, it takes a long time to untangle.
With the band now spread out across America, do you expect to release new material this year?
Yes, hopefully! You will hear the collected noise of Molly, Alexandra and Amelia. I have no idea what it will sound like. I have dreams of loud floor toms and kalimbas [African thumb pianos].
You share your name with a hardcore Massachusetts punk band. Has that caused trouble?
Yes! We have never talked to them, but I really want to do a split seven-inch with them. We could cover each other's songs. I personally would like to cover their song "God/F---," which nearly gave Molly's gran a heart attack and caused her to say "Darn it!" over and over before she learned that we had not written it.
Though only a third of the band lives in NYC, what are your favorite things about the city?
Red Hook, Brooklyn! The most beautiful place with the most beautiful humans! Almost real ramen all the time! Dragon fruit! People helping carry other people's baby carriages up subway steps.
Your least favorite?
My least favorite parts are the snow that turns into sludge the minute it hits the ground, and when people tell you to f--- off. But oh, the triumph when you can say "F--- you!" back without being scared.
If you go: Mountain Man is at the Mercury Lounge Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. 217 E. Houston, 212-260-4700. $12