Lexie Mountain Boys (all girls, by the way) wring an extraordinary variety of sounds out of their respective larynxes, ordinary singing, to be sure, but also yelps and grunts and wails and throat songs, layered in incredible rhythmic complexity one on the other. They adorn this, if that’s the right word, with sounds that can be made with their own bodies, slaps, stomps, swishes and claps, predominantly. It sounds kind of monotone, yet Sacred Vacation is one of the most fascinating varied albums you could imagine, recorded, they take pains to note, entirely live and without overdubs.
Consider, for instance, “Deep Couch” an interlayering of wordless harmonies and discords, mysterious and otherworldly and reminiscent of Tibetan throatsinging. It is bookended by the knee-slapping, foot-stomping “Too Tall, Too Tall”, its call-and-response patterns lifted from the Mississippi cotton fields, and the jaw-harp-ish bounciness of “Long Dog Energy Drink”. There is something funny about making all these sounds with just the instrument you were born with, and the ladies of Lexie Mountain Boys crack up, a couple of times, with the sheer absurdity of their efforts. The first time comes in “Catcall”, a multi-voiced vortex that swirls around two statements, “You’ve got a boyfriend,” and “You’ve got a husband,” in high tones, low tones, grunts, growls, massed choruses and strident solos. It’s wonderful, dizzying, but also faintly ridiculous, and you can laugh, because so does the band near the end. And yet, though their work is firmly grounded in the body—that’s where it comes from after all—there is also something deeply spiritual about this. See if you can listen to “Filled With It, Possessed” without some inkling of holy spirit, a joy that rises out of stomped feet, clapped hands and voices rising in cacophonous triumph, myriad and individual.