Hearing Aide: The Mountain Carol EP

There’s not much information to be found about The Mountain Carol aside from their origin and what their intentions are. They’re from Saranac, NY and make “infinite music for infinite people.” They say their creations are the result of “countless musical and non-musical influences [formed] into a sound described by some spiritually-minded fans as ‘too powerful.’” It’s an ambiguous statement but the mysteriousness of the group does make the tracks more intriguing.   

the mountain carol

This EP has just three recordings but sheds enough light on the band to give everyone an idea of what they’re after. Their tracks can be a tad repetitive due to the drum track, but a relentless, chopping beat gives the laid back melody some direction and energy. The guitar gives every track a hopeful and pleasant drifting-through-space experience as well as a subtle synth that contributes to the same feeling. The percussion is distant, lacking of bass tone and the vocals are a little unintelligible as a result of loads of echo, but it creates the open and spacey effect they’re going for.

“Mountain Carol” is up first and has a synthesized, persistent drum beat that contrasts with a clean and reverb-filled guitar. Under the breathy vocals is drone tone from a synth that helps fill out the song and gives it more life. It would have been nice to see a change of scenery in the percussion section because the track does clock in at 6:11 and the same beat over and over again does get a little monotonous. At the very least, a break in the drum track would be extremely impactful. Although the song does blend very well from  section to section, it can be easy to get distracted, making it hard to appreciate each part.

“All Is Lost” has a less organic feel to it, containing a funkier guitar and a very 80’s drum fill that jumps out from time to time. This song does take a rest from the relentless drum beat which makes more of an effect than the group might think. The point of the song style is to put listeners in a trance, which it does well, but a quick pause from the perpetual drums is a quick and simple way to draw the listener’s ears back in. One would hope they would continue to do this trick in future tracks because the ears tend to wander as they delve into a song that’s over six minutes long.

“Adventure Safari” is a change of pace, moving back to more natural sounds with the most prominent tone coming from an acoustic piano which sounds a bit dated but holds a beautiful character. The track would not have sounded the same with an electric piano and it was an excellent choice to use an acoustic one. The transition from bridge to what could be defined as a chorus is a little rocky, but the track is still unique and true to their ideologies. Listeners get the sense that they’re being carried along through a variety of environments, all of which are pleasant places to be with bright lights awaiting them at the end of their trips. This track is the most captivating of the the three because there’s less obvious instrumentation and more alluring sounds, like that off wisps of wind and drops of rain, all of which are synthetically created.

It’s a special collection and a valiant effort from the group. A bigger sound would be a good step forward – maybe more instruments and less obvious ones that could definitely make this sound more immersive than it already is. The EP is available on BandCamp.com with an option to purchase all the tracks.

Key Tracks: Adventure Safari, Mountain Carol, All Is Lost

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