As a band who's biggest success happened in 1995 on the soundtrack to a movie that most people have probably forgot about (Empire Records), you most likely won't find the Innocence Mission's new album getting a ton of press. They're not a new band and their sound definitely can't be tagged with a label that sounds cool. What they are, though, is gorgeous and a band that has honed its craft so perfectly it's astounding. A slower, more subtle effort than their 2007 masterpiece We Walked in Song, this year's My Room in the Trees still has some of the best songs of their 20 year career. ("Spring" being a song that's so special it's hard to imagine how humans created it). But, for me, this album is largely about moments. It was hard to understand at first, since their last album was one stand-out song after another, but my favorite things on this album are pieces of the whole- the harmonies on "Rhode Island," the piano/bass outro to "Gentle the Rain at Home," when the drums come in on "Mile-Marker," the first 25 seconds of "Spring," or the first 15, which would make a great loop for an ambient track. In this way, it's, strangely, a more challenging effort simply because the songs are more subtle and aren't as ready-for-mixtapes. I thought this was a bad thing when I first heard it, but now I think that maybe it's just forcing you to listen to it again and again and find more moments of simple beauty. Which is what Innocence Mission are all about. When I listen to this, I think about the article/interview with them collected in Zine Scene by Francesa Lia Block so many years ago and love that, at one time, this was being covered in the zine community and this was so cool. Small scenes of simple moments in life, of what is good in a world that causes a lot of pain, do inspire teenage girls to take over the world. And, as important as Bikini Kill and all the other women who have made my home famous are, I think I'd rather have this be the soundtrack to the gender equality revolution. Innocence Mission- Gentle the Rain at Home (off My Room in the Trees)
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