When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired

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When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired is the mood-capturing title of the debut from Athens, Georgia indie quartet Mothers. The group was formed by then art-school student Kristine Leschper, who gained a reputation for her live solo performances around town before she expanded to a band and was invited to tour in support of fellow Athenians Of Montreal. Other established area musicians took notice as well, resulting in a first album with production by Drew Vandenberg (Widespread Panic, Futurebirds) and guest appearances by Josh McKay of Deerhunter and McKendrick Bearden of Grand Vapids. The finished product is meticulous and affecting, guided by Leschper, who possesses an idiosyncratic vocal delivery that recalls names like Angel Olsen and Joanna Newsom, the latter of whom she's cited as an influence. Beyond spellbinding vocals, the recording's sound in general is emotionally raw, too, with imperfections, finger repositioning, and breathing conspicuous in the mix. All of the above are on display on the slow, acoustic opener "Too Small for Eyes," one of a minority of songs written by solo Leschper. Sparse mandolin, piano, and strings accompany lyrics like "I hate my body/I love your taste," setting an intimate tone that blankets the whole album despite electronic instruments and relatively thicker textures marking the majority of tracks. Reportedly the first song written together as a band, "Copper Mines" consists of tempo-shifting, stout-toned guitar rock that, in keeping with the lyrics, conveys instability more than coolness ("What I have to give is small but at least I can admit it"). Arguably the most affecting song, "Nesting Behavior" is a knobbly electric guitar-and-strings lament ("You always made it easy/Reminding me not to bloom") that cries out amidst an album of self-examination and mourning. Even the record's catchiest and most straightforward tune, "It Hurts Until It Doesn't," plays as a moving plea. Consistent in character and quality, WYWALDYAT is a rare debut, one that impacts second to second rather than by hook or groove.

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