Silent Old Mtns. have come very far from their very first acoustic demos. Now a six piece band, their debut album Velvet Raccoon is finely tuned folk rock album, where vocalist Andrew Bromhal has finally focused his unique voice and added some force that the earlier recordings were missing. The album sounds top notch, as though it was recorded in a bigger studio than it was, allowing the many layers of guitar, banjo, bass, drums, and keys to shine through. Opener "Ash & Bone" is based off of a groovy bass riff, but soon opens up into a powerful, yet catchy chorus where each member is involved in creating the song's atmosphere. First single "Dead All The Time" may feel like a simple acoustic song which grows into a rocker, but there's a charm in the chorus that can appeal to a widespread audience. Silent Old Mtns. also allow themselves to experiment throughout the album, such as in "Monsters." "Monsters" is a track that starts quiet, but soon adds some crunchiness in the background instrumentals, with banjoist Sam Whalen finally contributing his poetic yelps to the mix in the last minute of the seven minute long track. Whalan also shows off his excellent delivery over the last three minutes of "Mine To Give." The poetry is a staple of their live performances, and while it upsets me that it isn't used more often on the album, it makes the specific moments even more intensely captivating. Velvet Raccoon is hard to classify and unconventional, but the band has made an enormous leap, blowing away even my high expectations. You can stream and download the whole album for FREE on Bandcamp right here.