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The Innocence Mission - Sun on the Square (Badman Recording Co.)

Sun on the Square from Innocence Mission
17 June 2018

Karen Peris and her husband Don Peris create music out of time. Their work is finely rendered, delicate folk rock with dreamy undertones curling around the edges, and extending its arms with motes of classical and baroque pop. The recording quality is crystalline and pure as a mountain stream on a hot summer day, there to soothe the senses and quench your musical thirst. With more than ten albums before them, this is a band whose experience is not so much worn on their sleeve as woven through the mix in a shining skein. The string arrangements are icing on the cake, and contributors include one of the couple’s children on viola. Songs such as these are lightly anchored with meaningful lyrics, but it’s always the heart-stirring music that gets me. These songs are lush, tone paintings written for a non-existent film suffused with color and gaiety. As the press release reminds us, ‘Their songs are full of sensory imagery and deeply felt instrumentation, and it’s their unique way of trying to approach universal joys and sorrows that allows the band to achieve the emotional connection with their listeners that makes them so special.’

The opener “Records From Your Room” is a pastoral slice with elements of hauntology, reminding me of the wonderful music from artists such as Lake Ruth and Beautify Junkyards. There is a childlike quality to Karen’s voice, soft and wistful as a long gone lullaby coming from a distant memory. “Green Bus” ripples peacefully along in a childlike fashion, graceful yet pensive as it unfolds. Perfectly lovely! The title song “Sun on the Square” was inspired by Astrud Gilberto and 60’s bossa nova, and the piano, acoustic guitar, and Karen’s breathy vocals frame it perfectly. “Look Out From Your Window” is another gorgeous tune, and I envision a summer-swept landscape somewhere in Europe, with all the possibilities of a new day before me. I love the tiny snatches of percussion interspersed throughout the mix. It’s all meticulously arranged. “Shadow of the Pines” is a firm favorite in a record swollen with great tunes, but it stands out nonetheless for its sparse, clean arrangements and Karen’s plaintive voice. It seems an odd time to hear a song like “Light of Winter”, but one listen to the beautifully arranged guitar and vocals will sweep you up in its chilly brilliance. The rest of this recording slips through effortlessly, both pleasant and intimate. In short, the group has unveiled yet another of their beautiful releases and it’s one existing fans as well as new musical recruits will savor. Well done!

Catch up with the band over on Facebook and pick up the album over on Bandcamp.