If The Lexicon of Accepted Ideas explored clever arrangements and orchestral echoes, and Makeweight perfected the band’s folk tone, then Heirloom demonstrates the progress the band has experienced since its conception. Heirloom’s third album investigates complex and layered territory via the use of a multitude of string instruments and striking vocals.
The combination of violin, double bass, cello and harp gives tracks texture and personality while blending seamlessly into achingly beautiful harmonies. The result is an album that lulls listeners into a carefree oblivion.
As the track listing suggests, the album reads much like a story beginning with “Prologue” and ending with “Epilogue.” The opening notes of Lisa Malachowski’s melodic voice eases listeners into the dream world that is Heirloom, and leaves listeners with a feeling of calmness long after “Epilogue” has finished.
Heirloom’s astute use of strings is most evident in “Lily White.” Its focus on instrumentals demonstrates the full and wide-ranging artistry of the band—a quality that colours the rest of the album. Much like a canoe ride down a winding river, “Lily White” simultaneously relaxes yet demands engagement of its listeners.
“Sweet/Sour,” a refreshing and upbeat addition to the album, will bring a smile to listeners faces. Its charming lyrics are reminiscent of a spring day and juxtapose nicely against what could be a melancholy medley of strings.
Cited influences Sufjan Stevens and Leonard Cohen are sprinkled throughout Heirloom, making for an album that is lighthearted with just the right amount of despondency.
Top Tracks: “Lily White”; “Sweet/Sour”; “Prologue”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)