Companion — „Second Day of Spring“ (May 27, 2022)
★Δ Twin sisters Jo and Sophia Babb (formerly The Annie Oakley). Jednovaječná dvojčata Sophia a Jo Babb, kterým bylo pouhých 23 let, čelily desetiletí temnoty. Poté jako Companion postavili majáky. Se svým debutovým albem Second Day of Spring přichází duo na začátek nové kvetoucí sezóny a drží dílo, které jemně září upřímností, zranitelností a nadějí, kterou na své cestě tvrdě hledali. „Mnoho z tohoto alba je zakořeněno v léčení ze smutku a rodinných zranění,“ říká Sophia. „Jsou tam písně o manželství a léčení z nedůvěry. Rodinné vazby, které byly přerušeny.“ „Second Day of Spring“ představuje dvě skvělé skladatelky a okouzlující zpěvačky, které sdílejí své příběhy s pohledy lehkými a zároveň těžkými. Nabízejí posluchačům pohodlí v zoufalých situacích. Jak bylo řečeno, je to žánrově přeplněno, ale debut Companion je velmi působivý hudebně, vokálně, produkčně i kompozičně. Po téměř 27 minutách je album již u konce, ale Second Day Of Spring je tak krásné, že si ho bez námahy poslechnu dvakrát za sebou a nechávám se přes 50 minut okouzlovat nádhernými zvuky, nádhernými písničkami melodicky i díky hlasům od Jo a Sophie Babb. V některých EU zemích prozatím ignorováno, ale tohle je album, které by měli slyšet opravdu všichni fanoušci atmosférického indie~folku a krásných ženských hlasů.
Location: Oklahoma ~ Fort Collins, Colorado
Album release: May 27, 2022
Record Label: Self~released
01. How Could I Have Known 2:41
02. Forfeit 2:35
03. Arm’s Length 2:38
04. If I Were a Ghost 4:27
05. Snowbank 2:21
06. 23rd Street 3:04
07. Second Day of Spring 3:01
08. Newborn of Springtime 1:42
09. Sunday Morning 1:11
10. Waiting For You 3:19
★ Sophia Babb — Voice, Guitar
★ Jo Babb — Voice, Guitar
★ Courtney Hartman — Guitar, Organelle
★ Tobias Bank — Drums, Percussion
★ Russell Durham — String Arrangements, Violin, Viola
★ Emma Rose — Upright Bass, Vocal Harmony (Waiting for You)
★ Jay LeCavelier — Piano
★ John DeHaven — Trumpet (23rd Street)
★ Dan Knobler — Bass Synth and Harmonium (Snowbank)
★ Produced and Engineered by Courtney Hartman
★ Mixed by Dan Knobler
★ Mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova
★ Recorded at The Barn on Glade in Loveland, CO
★ All songs written and arranged by Jo & Sophia Babb
written by Mike Davies 30 May, 2022:
Δ★ Second Day of Spring is the official debut of Companion — Oklahoma indie~folk twin sisters Jo and Sophia Babb (formerly The Annie Oakley). The album was recorded in producer Courtney Hartman’s (ex~Della Mae) Colorado barn studio by an all~female team (Hartman also plays guitar and organelle).
Δ★ A collection of close harmony, light and melodic Americana, following a rough trajectory from winter to spring, the album opens with the simple acoustic guitar patterns, soft vocals and fluttering melody of How Could I Have Known, a song about the impermanent nature of life as people come together and are pulled apart (“The sudden wind that brings you/Will be the wind that takes you/The same fate that brought you/Will be the fate that takes you”).
Δ★ Accompanied by a circling guitar pattern and with an air of traditional folk, the lockdown~fuelled Forfeit (“singing as I lock the door”) was written about finding comfort in times of trouble (“It’s your trust I’m after/It’s you knowin’ that I’d never let you/Feel ashamed/You can say anything/To me”).
★Δ Drums and electric guitar flesh out the arrangement for Arms Length, a song about the trying to still love in the wake of the hurt of broken trust (“You swore in blue and red/But it is hard to discern/A bruise from a lesson learned/Would it be easier to love you from afar”), especially when you’re “wearing armor from a different past demanding trust, an impossible thing/Akin to being taught to laugh”.
Δ★ The sisters have a traumatic past; their father, who had Parkinson’s, committed suicide when they were 13 and, opening with a simple strum before being embellished with strings, the poignant If I Were a Ghost was written in a family chapel he’d built, five years later at a time when Sophia was going through a difficult time with her mother as well as coming off the back of a breakup as, putting herself in her place, she hauntingly sings “If I were a ghost in this house/I’d see all of your pictures hung up/I’d walk through the hallways/that I used to love…if I could slip in and sleep by your side/I’d give my body away” where “now I just wander, wanting to find the voice that I left in our doorway saying goodbye”.
★Δ By contrast, initially written as a poem by Jo, Snowbank, with its harmonium and bass synth backdrop, is an upbeat recollection of an intimate moment (“In my fingers beat a heartache/I’ve never known/Oh what are you doing/Letting me touch you like that/What are we doing/With our mouths and arms and hands”) as it closes with an exultant orchestral swirl. With John DeHaven on trumpet, it’s followed by 23rd Street, which captures another memory of a moment in time and another flush of rebirth (“Jo and me are sitting at the bank/On 23rd street/It’s all exactly just the same but I’m a new me”), a resolve to not waste the life given (“I don’t wanna let one more good day/Go over my head”) or be trapped in dead~end mazes with the realisation that “To be young and to know it/Is something profound”.
Δ★ The beautifully harmonised fingerpicked and strings adorned title track continues the journey towards hope and light, even if doubts still linger (“Yes things are better on paper/Oh it’s easy to say/Things are good/Still I cut my fingers on the edges every day”). There is still difficulty in managing feelings (“I’m sorry for circumstances that/Leave me cold and cruel/There’s no easy for me”), but even so, it is possible to declare “I know where I do and don’t belong” and that “It’s all right here/So I guess I can stay awhile”. It’s a momentum that continues with the brief Newborn of Springtime where, evocative of First Aid Kit, as the powder of white snow begins to melt away, they trade in balancing oppositions (“You’ve hurt me so badly/You’ve healed me so sweet”) singing “You’ve brought me children/You’ve brought me this home/You’ve taken away/You’ve left me alone/And I love you”.
★Δ A 70~second circling guitar notes instrumental, the peaceful Sunday Morning preludes the closing track, Waiting For You as, drawing on nature imagery, spring lifts the spirits and hope and healing draw closer (“Times been passing quicker/The lines been getting thinner/Between what I want/and what’s in front of me/Like the light that glinted off the river/Like the bloom that lifted the winter”). From painful introspection, the perspective is now “looking outward” and “The sound of/Us has now turned/Into a sweetness” as the shoots of new love begin to show.
Δ★ Ten tracks for the ten years of healing since the traumatic events that changed their lives, they have emerged from a long winter of discontent to find that life can and will get warmer — blooming wonderful. — folk radio
Erwin Zijleman ≡ Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½