Lily and Madeleine [Album]


There’s nothing better than a bit of forlorn folk to bring down the tempo of the party. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there’s nothing better than burying yourself in your own misery and filth, and having a good ole’ cry. I hate to admit it, but being of the female gender, this seems to happen far too often and even the smallest things can set off those water works. So on the first listen of Lily & Madeleine’s self-titled debut release, I had to switch it off so as not to embarrass myself in front of a whole pub full of punters. I’m not saying it’s massively depressing, in fact quite the opposite: Lily & Madeleine is an album that effortlessly wrenches at the heartstrings.

While some may argue that the teenage pair (sisters even) aren’t even old enough to know about true sadness, they sing with such sincerity and precision that it’s believable, right from opener Sounds Like Somewhere; its lyrics “Someday, I’ll find the right words/ and I will bloom where I was planted long ago…” assert the delicate melancholic feel of the record. In little over a year Lily & Madeleine have racked up notoriety from their first original track In The Middle going viral (with the help of Asthmatic Kitty Records) and debut live shows to some pretty substantial crowds; and it’s not hard to see why.

Devil We Know and Disappearing Heart darken the mood, their lyrics and harmonies harrowing as well as soothing as they echo over steady piano and folky guitar melodies. At times this record is sickly sweet, the overt sense of innocence a little placid; but it’s tracks like I’ve Got Freedom that contrast with an upbeat, play-tambourine-round-the-campfire feel.

Come To Me has Country influences that mask the darker, sorrowful mood that the vocals “If the sky was falling over us/ if the ground was turning into dust…” promote: its harmonies are tight and lyrics cleverly poetic. Madeleine’s light, smooth voice melts into Lily’s dark, earthy tones, appearing to be the sound of one. Lost Upon the Sea and Goodbye to Anyone are catchy and brimming with heartfelt, nostalgic emotion that once again tug at the heartstrings, oozing a sense of loneliness and longing. Closer You Got Out leaves us with a more optimistic feel, its stunningly echoing oohs and simple acoustic riffs gently rocking us to the end.

If Lily & Madeleine’s juvenile release is anything to go by, this talent-filled duo are on to a winner, but it is definitely advisable not to listen in one sitting — unless you have the tissues at the ready. The sheer effortlessness of the girls’ sound, riddled with smokier, heavier tones mask the innocence of it all, transporting one into a world of roses and lilies; a contrast between two emotions.

By Josie Faulkner