Joanna Newsom

The Milk-Eyed Mender

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Classically trained harpist Joanna Newsom uses her appreciation of Appalachian folk and bluegrass for an oddly alluring set of indie rock melodies. Milk-Eyed Mender, which follows her homemade EP releases Walnut Whales and Yarn and Glue, is rich in harvest colors. Newsom's childlike voice brings an unstudied grace to an innocent setting of songs, and such quirkiness is hard to find among most guitar-driven indie acts. From the more whimsical moments of "Peach, Plum, Pear" and "Inflammatory Writ" to the dovelike ballad "This Side of the Blue," Newsom welcomes the listener to sink into its imagination. Delicate harp arrangements are nicely sprinkled among specks of pianos, organs, and a harpsichord, only adding to the fascination that is Milk-Eyed Mender. Some may find the album to be overly sweet in spots due to Newsom's girlish voice; however, the fairytale-like appeal of Milk-Eyed Mender is far too intriguing to dismiss. Newsom exists in several musical spheres, one being a member of the Pleased, while not forgetting how wonderful it is to live in a warm place that leaves you bright-eyed and hopeful for only what is good in life.

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