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Fumes

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the beginning, the Lily & Madeleine's calling card has been the breathtaking and intuitive union of their voices. When the two come together in ecstatic and seamless blood harmony, it's a sound that continues to haunt long after the songs are sung, leaving an electrical charge behind like a sparkling tracer in the air. When they step out individually as vocalists, Lily's warm, smoky alto is the counterpoint to Madeleine's crystalline, bell-like soprano.

Those who first fell in love with the disarming beauty of Lily & Madeleine's voices on their debut EP ,The Weight of the Globe and their full-length follow-up Lily & Madeleine will find the same otherworldly harmonies on their 2014 release Fumes. With ten dazzling tracks, this record finds the sisters once again teaming with esteemed producer and manager Paul Mahern and stellar songwriting collaborator Kenny Childers.

As the sisters have grown as people and artists, so has their sound evolved. The scope is broadened here. The music is expansive, the instrumentation multi-layered. This is an entrancing production that allows both singers to stretch out in new directions. Like the sun slanting through a window in a Vermeer painting, it s an experience that captures the subtleties of both shadow and light.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty
  • ASIN: B00MGSTKVE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,397 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ten Things That I Love About Lily & Madeleine’s Music
The singing sister duo from Indianapolis, IN named Lily & Madeleine (Jurkiewicz) might be young (Lily is 18 and Madeleine is 20) but they somehow have an amazing grasp on the secrets to writing fine American music. I won’t even try to speculate about how this happened at their tender ages but I am sure glad it did! Instead, I’ll just discuss ten things that I love about the way the sisters write, record and perform their heavenly music.
1) Enunciation matters. Especially, if you write lyrics like these two. If you want your already-brilliant lyrical poetry to be heard and understood by all listeners, wrap your words up in clear, eloquent enunciation. They have never sung a word that I couldn’t immediately understand.
2) Simple is good. Everything about their music is amazingly simple. They aren’t doing any fancy stuff like key changing, time signature shifting or anything remotely complicated. Some of their most lush and interesting work is simply them singing in straight 4/4 time with a piano and guitar. Or, just a guitar (see: “Paradise”, “Things I’ll Later Lose”). Or no instruments at all!
3) OK, the harmony. Their signature vocal blends are highly original and are, in fact, the essence of their sound. These kinds of harmonies are something that perhaps not all singers/musicians can pull off. I take note of how they save their best harmonies for crucial parts of the song – as an emotional build-up, as a way to really highlight an already hook-y chorus line or by simply placing their sweetest vocal magic at THE most emotional line(s) in the song. Their harmony lines are like an alternate melody.
4) OK, the melody. The Jurkiewicz sisters write strong, interesting melodies.
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Lily & Madeleine, the sister siblings from Indianapolis, shot pretty much out of nowhere with their impressive debut album from Fall of 2013, and as if on the clock, exactly a year later, we already receive the sisters' second full-length album. If you are not familiar with their sound, think of them as the US version of Sweden's First Aid Kit.

"Fumes' (10 tracks; 38 min.) kicks off with the reflective title tune, which immediately turns into a showcase for the sisters' two-part vocal harmonizing. "Rabbit" is an up-tempo tune that rocks harder than anything we heard on their debut album. For my liking, to fully appreciate the sisters' talents, they need to slow it down, and next two tracks, "Ride Away" and "Can't Admit It" are great examples of that, and two of my favorite tracks on here. Side A concludes with "Cabin Fever", the only tune on here not written by the sisters themselves. Side B continues the great music, check out "Hold Onto Now", and later still "Lips & Hips". The album concludes with "Blue Blades", an epic, pensive tune with a massive sound that reminds me of latter day Miranda Lee Richards. Could this be an indication of where the sisters may be heading?

I recently saw Lily & Madeleine in concert for the first time. They opened this past weekend at Over the Rhine's annual homecoming Christmas show here in Cincinnati. The sister put on a too-brief 35 min. that was heavy on songs from "Fumes". They played as a trio (with the addition of a cellist), and their vocal harmonizing when you hear it in person is nothing short of amazing, almost angelic. If you have a chance to see them in concert, do not miss them! Meanwhile, "Fumes" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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A lovely album with a haunting resonance and a touch of melancholy that makes it the musical equivalent of a well aged dry-red French wine - heard it first on NPR music and fell in love with the distilled emotion spread throughout the songs. For those who like their music a bit languid and not rushed, so that it slows you down and fills the soul, this is a great album. ;-)
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I really like this album. Lily & Madeleine is a must-buy artist for my husband and I. We saw them perform last summer and immediately bought their albums. This album shows definite growth. The only complaint I have about this CD is that the last song ends quite abruptly. And it feels like the song, and the CD, shouldn't be over. However, my husband really likes how the CD ends. Too each his own, right? =)

Lily & Madeleine is great and I would recommend their albums. I can't wait for their next one!
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I very, very rarely write reviews about anything. In fact, this is the only music album I've reviewed, and I love music. So why do I feel the need to review Fumes? It's simple: I can't stop listening to these girls. I first heard them on NPR several months ago. I had an immediate, visceral reaction to their music and immediately bought their album. Their self-titled album is beautiful in its simplicity and calming tunes. It's the perfect showcase to the lost art of truly acoustic performances.
Fumes is more complex, but they have managed very skillfully to keep their amazing harmonies without becoming a muddled mess. My favorite song right now is the title song, Fumes. I also particularly love Cabin Fever. Fumes is a more balanced album; it has up-tempo songs, as well as slower lullabies. They're growing and developing as artists. My hat's off to them. Keep it up.
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