As a “harmony” singer, you tend to sing along to albums or the radio adding your two cents. (Aka, your obscure harmony that only a fellow singer would appreciate. The average ride-goer, not so much.) It’s not often that you hear a band or song that already covers that low tenor harmony you tend to belt in the car. And it’s even more rare when you hear an entire album that elevates itself, harmony-wise, and makes you literally ACHE to sing along with them. Anna & Elizabeth have become that for me. I so want to join them! I want to sing along. And I’m so unbelievably influenced by their uniqueness and gravitas. This album, “The Invisible Comes to Us” is one of the first albums I’ve heard in a VERY long time where I instantly felt it in my gut. It’s an ethereal, generous, and out of this world treasure. Anna & Elizabeth have looked in the face of folk music, gave it the warmest of embraces, and then flipped it the middle finger.
The first song, “Jeano,” starts with acapella vocals and then adds some synth, automatically adding pleasure and beauty. As I mentioned before, the harmonies are stellar…and when the low harmony joins, umm… yeah. I don’t really have words. Lyrically, its plight is peace and its message is serenity. The nature sounds only strengthen their argument.
“Black Eyed Susan” is a song that tells you a story and rips your heart out at the same time. Vocally, it’s folk gold, as her voice is rich and earthy. Story-wise, it’s a love story about a sailor at sea and his love waiting for him. It’s sad, gnawing, and full of yearning. Musically, the fragmented guitar strums and drum hits are reminiscent of the fractured love story at hand.
If I could sum up “Ripest of Apples” it would be jarring –discordant and gritty and absolutely wonderful. Full of delicious musical nuances like the classic banjo, electric guitar modulations, and snare drum rim-shots that make up a well-crafted gem of a song.
If ambient music is your thing, look no further. “Irish Patriot” is your new anthem! Oh…God. The harmonies. I can’t with these harmonies! I don’t know how to even type what I’m feeling. There’s an old-timey southern folk/mountain-song vibe with this song that makes me want to write a movie script about a woman making her way up the Smokey Mountains with nothing but a song in her soul and a bag of trinkets left by her dead lover. That’s the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written… But I can’t help it! The song also adds brass in all the right ways and it rounds out this glorious melody.
“John of Hazelgreen” and “Woman is Walking” are two mellifluous folk tunes that make you feel good and challenged at the same time. There’s no doubt where this bands’ heart is from when you listen to these songs.
Armed with only a high-hat and a southern vocal that can make the strongest of men weep, “Virginia Rambler” is the backwoods/modern folk crossover you never know you even needed! Mixing classic with progressive, this song takes a turn after the second verse with the addition of octave-melodic singing and a hefty amount of minor chord-age. It may actually be one of my favorites of the whole album. I think one could write it off if you only listen to the first few verses, but the dark turn it takes midway until the end, with the modulation of the chords and some peculiar electric guitar, it makes for some very fine-tuned eccentricity.
Oh, I’m sorry… did you also want spoken word? Because there’s that, too. “By the Shore” is poetic perfection. God, I want to see them live! I imagine it’s more theater than straight up “play song, people bob heads.” It would be a full-fledged experience, I’m sure!
And if it couldn’t get any better, “Farewell to Erin” is a complex, cultural gem. Straight from a Tolkien novel, this song embarks on a journey to the unknown using dissonance, spellbinding vocals, a bereaved fiddle, and so much damn heartbreak packed into one song that you could literally take an entire lifetime trying to make something so complex and alluring, and still never achieve what they have in a mere 6 minutes and 26 seconds.
“Mother in the Graveyard” is hearty vocally and lyrically. “I want God’s bosom to be my pillow.” That’s such a great lyric! Smart and bold, this song tackles religion and faith, while pushing the boundaries of perception and credence.
The last song, “Margaret” is adorable. The classic vinyl ambiance and fiddle makes you want to be transported to the old south.
I will say this in conclusion… and at the risk of repetition –this album is unparalleled greatness. From beginning to end, I was in complete and utter love. I needed this album to cleanse my spirit and take me to a place deep inside myself that I’ve scarcely gone before. This album is healing personified! Do your soul a favor and feed it. “The Invisible Comes to Us” is truly remarkable.