Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Albums of The Year # 31 The Innocence Mission - See You Tomorrow

 A quite transcendent record from January:

Life is not an easy road. nor should it be really. But it's important that we realise its miraculous incidental moments and appreciate the fragrant beauty all around us as its seconds tick past. One of my greatest musical discoveries to help me do just this over the couple of years has been Pennsylvania band The Innocence Mission fronted by married couple Karin and Don Peris who have been putting out records which capture this sense of fractured wonder for over twenty five years now and make a welcome return now with their new album See You Tomorrow.

The record is a continuation of what they do rather than a particular refinement or new departure. This would actually be inappropriate for this particular band as they've already achieved a mastery of the form that they specialise in. The best way that I can describe it is that it seems to be apropos to standing at the window of your town apartment on a Saturday morning, regarding the daylight playing on the trees outside your window and living within the space you find yourself in. What I'm doing right now as I listen to the record as it happens.

Karin's voice is clearly one of the band's key strengths. A somewhat less quirky Joanne Newsom, she manages to convey both the magical quality of childhood and the hard won wisdom of adult experience at one and the same time. No small achievement. The musical support that Don and the rest of the band provide is consistently tender and crafted. Songs don't necessarily follow received verse, chorus patterns but achieve a structural unity of their own anyhow which almost invariably make complete sense.

The Innocence Mission don't have an enormous audience. They certainly aren't as well known as they ought to be. What they do have though is an utterly devoted following. Sufjan Stevens counts himself among this number. He calls their music: 'Moving and profound. What is so remarkable about Karen Persis' lyrics are the economy of words, concrete verbs which come to life with melody.' I'm a total convert too. See You Tomorrow is an utterly enchanting new chapter in a steadily blossoming body of work.

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