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Lexie Mountain Boys: Sacred Vacation

Lexie Mountain Boys: Sacred Vacation

Release Date:2008
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Lexie Mountain Boys

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 6/4/2008

Even though most of us are able to carry rudimentary sonic instruments with us wherever we may roam--our hands, our feet, our voices--today's popular music generally relegates these tools to roles of direction or garnishment: melismatic self-expressions or finger snaps buried under a garden bed of processed guitar or artificial synthesizers, kick drums triggered by a Doc Marten'd sole. Bare song forms, where creation isn't wholly dependent on technology, are increasingly ghettoized and forgotten.

On Sacred Vacation, the overarching mission of Baltimore's Lexie Mountain Boys--an all-woman coterie led by noise artist Lexie Macchi and featuring Sam Garner, Amy Harmon, Katherine Hill, and Amy Waller--sounds to be to reintroduce and reinvigorate the primitivist urge. The group's aesthetic embraces the simplicity of barbershop pop, call-and-response schoolyard taunts, and the like. On intro "Shuffle, Sweep," they bend their own rules by leavening their theatrical brew of stomps, claps, and wordless harmonies with broom swipes. Afterward, though, these Boys are on their less-is-more game: soul-clapping against a canopy of gospel "heys" on "Filled With It, Possessed," knotting exaggerated "woo-woo-woos" and Native American whoops into a swaggering groove on "Fried Swash Accidental," simulating active gag reflexes on "2 Twigs/Big Brown Goat Cheese Twins." In confrontational gang-chant style, "Catcall" examines and re-examines a pair of seemingly innocuous phrases ("You got a boyfriend" and "You got a husband") from every conceivable angle--question, insult, accusation, boast--until the very concept of monogamy sounds suspect. "Mountain, Hill" turns a mawkish go at banging out a theme to a nonexistent spy flick--or re-creating the iconic intro to Michael Jackson's "Thriller"--into a not-so-stoic ping-pong match of taut zwooms. The vocalists can't suppress a stray giggle or two. What comes across here is a genuine sense of warts-and-all humanity that's rare in the avant-garde, let alone the world of overproduced popular rock product. And that playfulness and willingness to drop their guards is--more so than some notion of anthropological or ethnomusical altruism--what makes Vacation so refreshingly special.

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