On the surface, Made the Harbor is like one long lullaby. The debut album of Mountain Man—a mostly a capella trio of young women from Vermont—is a soothing collection of traditional-sounding folk songs. But if you listen harder, you'll find it's a riveting homage to nature and human experience in the peaceful harmonizing of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath.
"Buffalo" and "Animal Tracks" set the folksy tone of the album, exploring the countryside and waxing poetic about the natural world. But Mountain Man's enchanting lyrics are at their best when conveying the delights peculiar to human existence. "Soft Skin" is a sweet and earthy ode to lust, and "Sewee Sewee" evokes memories of walking hand in hand, "bare feet running over salty land."
The trio's haunting vocals really make the album, creating a mood and effect that combines with the natural acoustics and sounds of the recording studio—in this case an old ice cream parlor—to offer an obviously candid musical experience. A flowing, hypnotizing work, when finished it seems difficult to remember anything specific about it. All you are left with is a nostalgic mood and a lingering memory, just like a dream.