Review: Fumes – Lily & Madeleine

Lily and Madeleine FumesWhen the sisters made their debut with the incredibly rich and mature five-track EP, The Weight Of The Globe, fans from around the world began to wait anxiously for their full-length debut LP, which, when released, did not contain any of the songs from the EP. Just as the EP enthralled, the twelve-track debut album did pretty much the same. With seventeen original tracks to their catalog, along with a few unreleased recorded efforts, the sister duo from Indiana endeared many of us.

When their sophomore release, Fumes, was announced several months ago, the anticipation kicked back in. Lily & Madeleine pre-released a song from the album, “The Wolf Is Free”.  It did just what we all thought it would, encourage us. And so with the impending release of Fumes, we wondered just how much of the charm exhibited in the seventeen earlier songs would remain as the girls mature further in their songcraft. And as they’re certainly establishing, we needn’t have worried. At all.

Fumes clocks in at a meager 37 minutes, or close to it. But with it’s ten songs, we forget about the time length because we’re hitting replay quite a bit. Still, qualified attention paid to quality of the songs and not how many songs can be squeezed into the warehouse of bits that a CD can contain is refreshing.

Of the ten tracks, there are definite standouts. “Ride Away”, the album’s third song is a beautiful blend of their voices, with just the right amount of instrumentation to float the music. Following that is the heartbeat percussion of “Can’t Admit It”, a sad song about departures that captures the soul musically, just like a perfect song is supposed to do. With “Rabbit” prepared to be Fumes next single – and what a solid track it is – I think it’s easy to note that our girls are well prepared to go the entire distance, album after album.

Rounding out this album are the pop track, “Cabin Fever”, the sad “Hold On to Now”, the tender, piano-driven “Lips And Hips”, and the few left for your own exploration and discovery. If one thing can be said about Fumes that differs from their last two works, it is that they have turned in an album unlike them in content. Their sounds are maturing further, their songs becoming different things. Like growing children, we love to watch from our distance, their elation as they experience the world, sad or pleasant. Each album becomes our snapshots of them.

I hope to have a metaphoric shoebox filled with snapshots from Lily & Madeleine.

Release Date: October 28, 2014
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Website – Official
Availability: CD, DD

–Matt Rowe

No Lonesome Dave, No Rod…No Foghat!

Often, like many of you, I apply song to my current mood. Today, it’s Foghat for me. And as I plug in to that one song, it becomes inevitable that the entire album is revisited. For me, that album is easily Rock and Roll. To me that is their most brilliant album. And it’s not that i don’t like their others, it’s that this one is pure, unadulterated blues as they intended to be. When they reached Energized, they were in a commercial mode. Again, nothing wrong with that. I LOVE Energized. Still, it’s easy to see.

Nevertheless, the point of this small piece is not about what song strikes the mood, or which Foghat album is their best, although you can certainly leave your opinion on that, if you wish. Instead, in listening, I have to say that without Lonesome Dave Peverett, and even Rod Price (but more Lonesome Dave), Foghat doesn’t really exist anymore. I say this because of two things. The first is that I saw the current lineup of Foghat a few years back with Charlie Huhn, Bryan Bassett, Roger Earl (who wasn’t even there, instead hiring someone to fill in), and Craig MacGregor (third bassist for the band, still legitmate). It was an awful exercise using well-known songs for what easily felt like a cover band experience at 20 times the cost of admission.

Listening to Rock and Roll, and hearing the impossible to replicate voice and energy of Dave Peverett makes me realize yet again, that there are sometimes simply no replacements for a band. This is quite true of Foghat after Dave and Rod’s tragic departures. This makes up the second point.

While I respect Roger Earl and Craig MacGregor as great musicians, once part of a superior band, I bemoan their carrying on the band using beloved songs as a way to cash some checks. I feel this way about many bands who have lost a part of their heartbeat. Many I will not mention as their mention would have a tendency to stir the cauldron of anger.

My personal opinion. Whatever it’s worth.