Reviews:: The Innocence Mission We Walked in Song

So needless travel updates. Britain, or the Fringes of, is a wonderful land of awesome stereotypes. So far I’ve tossed suds with the only other Tottenham fan in the local pub as we watched their impossible comeback over West Ham, watched a man get hit in the face with a pool cue for celebrating an own goal in a Division I game, and wondered if the bar I was at played Kaiser Chiefs, Snow Patrol and the Gorillaz like Canada plays Nickleback (read - out of obligation), or because it is (pseudo) good music. Anyway.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Innocence Mission. Don Peris is a master guitar player, and his delicate picking style matches Karen’s quirky folk vocal lines nicely. Add in the stand-up bass, and you can see why the trio's sound has always been soothing to my ears. Their new album is no different.

We Walked in Song is a bit heavier lyrically. Karen started writing songs after losing her father, but instead of dark and depressing like you’d expect, the songs flip flop between loss (you can actually feel her pain when she sing, “I miss my dad” on Brotherhood of Man) and hope (“You are my friend, though words will fail me here again. The sacraments will lift us.” – Song for Tom). Accompanied by the occasional piano, pump organ, nylon strung guitars, and upright bass, Karen’s voice is the star of this record. Her voice never dominates the mix, but somehow never let’s your attention stray.

On the first listen you might think the album blends together, and for the first few listens I admit that I threw it on and simply enjoyed the consistency from start to finish, but it wasn’t not until I really started listening that I heard the subtle nuisances (like the nice electric guitar solo outro of Lake Shore Drive or the piano on Since I Still Tell You My Story Everyday) that make this record so nice.

The songs use similar structure, but I don’t seem to mind. It’s the type of record I can press play on and not have to worry about skipping a track. As far as popular folk goes, the IM is the most accessible outfit going. Instead of being challenged or exhausted after a listen, I’m left with a completely different feeling: completely satisfied.

MP3:: My Sister's Return from Ireland
MP3:: Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning

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