Lily & Madeleine - Fumes
PUBLISHED: 11:30 14 November 2014
Signed to Sufjan Stephens’ label on the back of an internet-enabled word-of-mouth explosion just last year, it’s hard to believe these Indianapolis-born sisters are still just teenagers.
Described by Madeleine as “a perfect reflection of this stage of our lives,” and inspired by their time on the road, these 10 songs are smooth, soothing and beautful slices of folk-pop that shimmer and glow.
Harnessing uncertainty and transition (the alternately swooning and lolloping Can’t Admit It) and the desire for escape (the chiming, intertwined guitar of Ride Away), Fumes reflects feelings we have all identified with at some point.
What marks them out, though, is the authority they command with these songs.
They somehow manage to sound genuine and innocent while singing “Life is fleeting/Let’s not hold on for meaning” in the chiming and charmingly finger-picked Hold On To Now.
The sisters also meander through mid-tempo Americana while turning compromise on its head (singing “good enough is enough for me” in the title track over a gentle piano lilt, xylophone and plucked, shimmering guitar) and sound wearily wise on the cool, wintry sign-off Blue Blades.
The fairy tale-tinged submission of The Wolf Is Free is quite bewitching, too.
Their “blood harmonies” are a natural, relaxed fit, while each hold their own: Lily has a lightly-smoked alto and Madeleine’s crystalline soprano is as clear as Croatia’s unspoilt lakes.
The second in the duo’s planned three-album run in as many years, these sisters seem unstoppable.