We first ventured into the soundworld of Inez Lightfoot last year with her impeccably-crafted Pollen on the Brow cassette and her vision has only grown in leaps & bounds since. Familiars is a statement. It rings in the morning mists like a spectre in the woods calling each of us back home. This is music that is crawling with life in all the tiny cracks and corners of each organic composition. Lightfoot’s muse is always on the move, drifting from the dirt to the clouds, but always keeping her pushing forward.
Album opener, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” is the perfect overture; a short hymnal that sets the stage for everything to come. There is a quiet confidence in that minute-and-a-half leading into the whimsical “Spring and Wing.” It’s on this song that Lightfoot’s voice makes its first appearance. The manner in whichthe vocals swirl around like balloons floating in the air is enchanting. There’s a playfulness to it (and as well on “Hope is Kindled”) that draws you in and keeps you close.
Familiars is a small album in the sense that it feels so personal, like you’re sitting in her living room, having a long talk over beers. The conversation drifts from the metaphysical to the mundane, talking of daily tasks and deepest fears with equal importance. Anchored on each side by “Tooth and Nail” and “Sprouting Velvet Antlers,” the record stretches out that dialogue until it becomes something musical and transcendent. The former builds on a structural rhythm built from a hypnotic bassline and various percussive clatter, infusing itself with a ghostly tribalism. There’s beauty in the repetition, drifting as it does into a cathartic death rattle where the only thing you hear once you’re buried underground are the birds and voices in your head.
If “Tooth and Nail” takes you to death’s door, then “Sprouting Velvet Antlers” cradles you on the other side. Acoustic instrumentation punctuates the ethereal organ drones and, again, Lightfoot’s voice it streams into your conscience. It builds slowly and eventually lulls you into a place of safety and comfort by wrapping you up in those soft, beautiful vocals. The album closes how it began, with the short and sweet zither-imbued “Shenandoah,” tying things up perfect. Lightfoot insists there is something valuable to be found all around, no matter how tiny some things seem.
released 19 October 2012
Original artwork by Tate Hudson. Limited to 100 copies.
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