Despite nearly a decade spent in the industrial confines of their North Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, the sound that Mountains — a duo comprised of Koen Holtkamp and Brendan Anderegg — evoke is positively bucolic. And while the name itself suggests something dominant and looming, across five albums, Mountains favor the smaller sensations of nature walks: gurgling brooks, cricket crescendos. At times, it approaches the aural equivalent of magic hour light on wheat.
Centralia balances the finger-picking and field-recording roots of their debut with the analog components that throbbed on their last album, Air Museum, adding a few new timbres to their palette. The acoustic and electric mingle on the horizon-wide opener “Sand,” the duo’s delicate drones and washes cresting before carefully removing every layer so as to reveal a gorgeous core of bowed cello. The ruminative steel-string figures of “Identical Ship” are swarmed by sputtering alien pulses and then an elegant piano line arises, all of it arising and passing away in three luminous minutes.
Mountains are at their finest when they have ample space to move about in. So it all builds toward the album’s shimmering 20-minute centerpiece, “Propeller.” Starting from a Dream Machine-like flicker of organ, Holtkamp and Anderegg allow the track to accrue innumerable drones until this masterstroke attains lift-off, their white noise turning golden. Low-key closers “Liana” and “Living Lens” let you down gently, a fitting end to a cinematic double album, and Mountains’ most immersive to date.