5.0 out of 5 stars very nice cd
Although this cd from The Innocence Mission is not aggressive and masterfully produced as Glow it is very good in its own right. A much quieter cd than Glow- it is probably the most relaxing cd I own. A word of caution: do NOT play this cd while driving but DO play this cd if you want close your eyes and be completely relaxed for a half hour. Also, this cd sounds much...
Published on July 4 2004 by Jeremiah McManus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Being a fan of IM for many years, I was disappointed in their latest effort, BEFRIENDED. The writing is spare - repetitive and morose. The music is draggy and simple. I expected the spiritual uplift that I adored with "You chase the light" and "Wonder of Birds". "Every Hour Here", "Umbrella" and "Joan" were little...
Published on Oct. 2 2003
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5.0 out of 5 stars matured and melodic sound,
By A Customer
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)I've been a fan of the Innocence Mission since Karen Peris first floated her vocals over a couple of synthesizer riffs on the first album. With Befriended, IM shows that they've really matured as a band without losing what was great about them before -- a unique vocal sound and touching lyrics.
Strangely, I think the album is equally suited to a low-key hipster coctail party and a baby's room. It's just that kind of an album -- soft and real and interesting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another haunting gem,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)I've owned "Befriended" for a few weeks now, and it increasingly seems to be seeping into my subconscious. Like much of the Innocence Mission's music, the album has a simple beauty to it and yet some of the songs' lyrics can surprise you with their eerie power.
Some of this music reminds me of other favorite albums, like Fairport Convention's "What We Did on Our Holidays" (somehow that album's "Book Song" wouldn't be out of place on "Befriended"). You can almost imagine that you're there in Don and Karen's living room, singing along on the chorus of "Martha Avenue Love Song", "Sweep Down Early" or "Look for Me As You Go By"- warm, lazy and at peace.
The track that particularly floors me lately is "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy"; its lyric "The soul of my brother is pure, though he doesn't think so" embodies some of the elements that make the songs Karen Peris writes such treasures- sorrow, longing, hope and love all wrapped up in one neat little package- and her phrasing on this track gives me the chills. Yet other tracks have a gentle playful quality, like "Beautiful Change" and "Walking Around", in which Karen sounds like she is absolutely beaming while anticipating the good times to come, so that by the album's end, we've been taken across a broad spectrum of emotion.
The last track on the album, "Look for Me As You Go By", is written by Don Peris, and he shares Karen's talent for cutting through layers to get to the skeletal frame of emotion. The song's refrain "(it's) me for you and you for me" is one of the most simple and powerful phrases two people can sing to each other, and hearing the Perises sing it back and forth is a transcendent experience.
The album is as sparse musically as it is lyrically. Don Peris and Mike Bitts weave their music around Karen's singing and playing- they are, thankfully, students of the "less is more" school- playing no unnecessary notes, allowing Karen's vocals room to breathe and resonate. There is a tasteful smattering of piano here and there, and even a slight bossa nova rhythm to the gorgeous "When Mac Was Swimming", revealing another color in the Innocence Mission pallet.
If you are new to the Innocence Mission, be sure to get "Glow", "Birds of my Neighborhood" and the benefit CD "Christ is My Hope" (a collection of hymns and songs). I am a bigger fan of the simpler, less-layered arrangements the band has gravitated to in these later works: more and more, they are distilling Karen's songs down to their exquisite spare essence. Prepare yourselves for a marvelous ride.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected,
By A Customer
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)Being a fan of IM for many years, I was disappointed in their latest effort, BEFRIENDED. The writing is spare - repetitive and morose. The music is draggy and simple. I expected the spiritual uplift that I adored with "You chase the light" and "Wonder of Birds". "Every Hour Here", "Umbrella" and "Joan" were little vignettes that moved me to tears. I find none of these feelings when I listen to BEFRIENDED. The CD is very, very short, and I expected more after waiting four years for something new.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing - the songs stay in your head. Beautiful.,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)I first saw the Innocence Mission at the 9:30 club in Washington DC in 1992. I first heard them on college radio by happenstance in 1991. The moments of joy their music has brought have been too numerous to count. And now, with the release of Befriended, there is a whole new catalog of beauty and unshakeable melodies. The music of IM has evolved over the last several CDs to become more transparent, simpler but no less magical. Befriended seems to borrow this simplicity of the last few CDs but provides haunting melodies almost so beautiful you swear you dreamt them before. An audio deja vu.
Highlights on the CD include the opening track, Tommorow on the Runway. The guitar riff sounds almost like Puff the Magic Dragon, to the extent it evokes magic you recall from childhood. But the subject matter is far from childish. They include strings or other background sounds to form richer, rolling melody not seen on the last CD.
When Mac Was Swimming, the second track, sounds like cool lounge music from the 1960s. Its not unlike some Belle and Sebastian or The Gentle Waves. "Nobody knows how they are loved/ ... lets get up early now/ dive clear into the day."
I never knew you from the sun, the third track, seems a bit morose and out of place and I confess I've skipped it occasionally. I do this, perhaps to get to, Beautiful Change - a song that simply sounds like sunshine. I've had this song on my mind sometimes for hours and hours at a time, the melody reaches that deeply into your soul.
One for Sorrow Two For Joy is another highlight. "Today is a winter sunday/we wear our heavy coats/ the soul of my brother is pure but he doesn't think so." I don't quite know what the title means but it is a charming story of family and love.
No Storms Come, I believe, is a remake of a song which was on the Hymn CD the IM put out. Beautiful.
But the highlight of Befriended is Sweep Down Early. Words simply cannot describe how unshakeable this melody is. What muse gave Karen Peris this joyous melody? "Flower forth all you branches of/Easter, why wont the spring come/ Sweep down early tommorow come/ tell me that I can just start over again."
Above all, the Innocence Mission is a band that sings about joy, the joy of life, love and family. Peris finds her subjects in the small stories of life - the visits from friends, bundling up and walking in the winter sunshine, dreams and children, hope. The music has dignity and spirituality. I cannot overstate how enjoyable this CD is. I don't give 5 stars often but this one gets it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering beauty! Check out 'Me Died Blue' as well.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)Lately, I have been entranced by 'Befriended', and 'Me Died Blue' by NJ singer/songwriter soundscape creator Steven Delopoulos. Both of these gorgeous releases are living proof that incredible, deep music is still being made. I cannot stop playing them both. My family thinks I have gone off the deep end.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Friend Indeed,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)It's been four years since The Innocence Missions last cd "Birds of My Neighborhood" (the ever generous band did offer up the glorious 'Small Planes" a compliations of b-sides and "leftovers" a couple of years back). "Birds" solidified the bands sound -- stripped down production, lyrics and voice only, with rich melodies and harmonies
Enter "Befriended", IM's happy ever after follow up to "Birds" somber document of trying to conceive a child. Well the baby is born and it seems Ms. Peris uses this disc to celebrate and give thanks. IM's sound has never been more intact -- less is indeed more and Ms. Peris' fagile beauty of a voice is supported by sublime arrangements of mostly piano and guitar and vocal harmonies.
Track 1 -- vintage IM -- could be right at home on "Glow" or "Birds" -- this is THE SOUND.
Track 2 -- Only the second track and it's this albums best. A lullaby to her son is both heartbreaking and joyful, Ms. Peris has never used her voice or lyrics to greater effect. "Nobody knows how they are loved. Don't worry, my darling, the sun's coming up."
Track 3 -- A tribute to a departed loved one?
Track 4 -- Strong guitar (always!) and minimal percussion support this song of redemption and change -- hopeful and inspiring "At any time I could change, any day, a beautiful change."
Track 5 -- beautiful lyrical imagery using color "...when the pink and green arrive." a technique that Peris has used to great effect in the past. ie "Bright as Yellow"
Track 6 -- a song of hope and support for a troubled brother or so the song seems to imply "Though we don't know much at all, stand ever firmly, love."
Track 7 -- The band must really like this one as it has been previously released on the bands benefit cd "Christ is My Hope."
Track 8 -- wistful and gorgeous. Waiting for friends and spring. another song infused with hope, longing and desire.
Track 9 -- Probably the most upbeat arrangment on the disc
Track 10 -- a hymnlike closing with the killer lyric "Don't see me only as I am but see me how I long to be."
So the IM go on without major label support which seems the trend these days if an artist wants to release something of relavance -- just check out Natalie Merchants new release to see what I speak of. This cd is a gift and a blessing to all who find it. thank you IM.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)This album is complete with astonishingly beautiful music that is all composed, arranged and performed in near perfection. An album that will be enjoyed for years.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music on a short album,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)While I am a devout Innocence Mission fan and enjoy their latest effort's beautiful, spare folk music that I've come to expect from this gifted band, I have two minor complaints: First, the album, around 35 minutes, is too short. Second, there is a sameness to the music with some exceptions. Having said this, the album is a must-buy, not just for the canvass of mellifluous sounds throughout, but for track 6, which is one of the most distinct, haunting melodies I've ever heard by the Innocence Mission.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lakes of light,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)A few more lakes of light from Lancaster, PA, like a calming late afternoon walk in Elizabethtown. Befriended is a candle burning by your bed, fragile but vivid.
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a peaceful dream,
This review is from: Befriended (Audio CD)There was a strong whiff of '60s folk music in the air as I sat listening to the sweet singing of Karen Peris and her guitar strumming plus Don Peris' guitar playing. I thought of Peter Paul & Mary (sans harmonies) or Fairport Convention. There's also a resemblance to more modern folkies like Natalie Merchant in Karen's vocals, but there seems to be an almost intentional feeling of looking backwards on Befriended, as with the hint of Bacharach on "When Mac Was Swimming," or the old-timey piano on "Look For Me As You Go By." However you want to characterize it, this is very nice music. It's not the kind of listening experience that hits you over the head, more like drifting on a boat on a still lake on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The arrangements on Befriended are fairly sparse and open, allowing Karen's voice and Don's guitar to remain out front. And as much as I've emphasized her singing, his guitar plays an important role too. The luminous, shimmery solo he lays down on "Walking Around" is just one delightful example. Don sings backing vocals on occasion too - just a ghost of a male voice in the wings. Mike Bitts' bass is also a steady and effective presence.
The members of The Innocence Mission have been together now since the late '80s. The risk of stagnation after such a length of time is relatively great, but Befriended still sounds fresh and alive. It's one of the better things I've heard this year.
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