Lily and Madeleine – Lily and Madeleine (2013)

The American sister-duo of Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz from Indianiapolis, at the tender age of 16 and 18, already have a terrific new self-titled album out. Not only are they capable of singing enchanting harmonies, they also write wonderfully timeless and highly elegant folk songs.

Lily and Madeleine have the gift to present songs of sublime beauty and innocence. There is this amazingly mature quality about their compositions, and their stylistically confident harmony singing leaves one speechless. Sufjan Stevens has recognized their talent and has taken the two sisters on his Asthmatic Kitty label.

“Sounds Like Somewhere” begins with a relaxing piano intro, adding gentle acoustic guitars and a delicate cello. “Nothing But Time” offers a brisk Americana-folk pop, while “Disappearing Heart” shows how a ballad should sound without falling into kitsch. “And Tonight” combines beautiful string arrangements with acoustic guitars so magically that it feels like being carried off on a cloud. If there is a point of criticism, it might be that the album’s second half falters a bit. But one must also take into account the age of the two, and that this is their debut. Then there’s “Devil We Know,” an absolute highlight on the album and somewhat reminiscent in structure to the Fleet Foxes — a great compliment. Here, they merge swirling acoustic guitars with piano chords to crete a small, atmospheric masterpiece.

Now, it only remains to seen whether Lily and Madeleine collapse under the weight of so much hype, because it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Either way, it’s nice to know that there are still teenagers out there who know how to compose honest music.

    

Mike Dostert

Luxembourg resident Mike Dostert has written about music for more than two decades, with work appearing in a local newspaper, via his own independent music magazine and at the web sites www.music-brain.com and lux-culture.jimdo.com. He has also worked for 20 years as a DJ and radio host. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.