Album Review: Mandolin Orange – Tides of a Teardrop

Tides of a Teardrop is the latest release from folk duo Mandolin Orange and it is an album of such indescribable beauty that before its opening track is even halfway through you can feel something swelling deep within your heart and gently warming you.

Comprised of singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz, the sound the duo produce is utterly mesmerising. There is such a wealth of passion stored within their tender chords; their love for their work and the truth of the words they speak ebb gently out to the listeners. Their songs are soft and gentle melodies that have a powerful and heady sound to them and yet sound as personal and intimate as if they were performing for you in your very own living room. This feeling that the songs are coming from old friends only aids the expansion of that warm, fuzzy feeling they give you.

Tides of a Teardrop contains some of the most beautifully crafted music we have come across in recent years. Full, vibrant and heady cocktails of sound that take the light-hearted swing of a mandolin and combine it with rumbling double bass, warm slide guitars and fiddle tunes that arc and soar around your head like swooping birds. But the fact is that it doesn’t stop there, with every listen you find yourself noticing these new subtle nuances to their sound. As the album progresses you gradually feel that warm feeling that ignited in your heart when their first song Golden Embers came into being extending its reach. This warming nature spreads through your heart and mind and affects your mood as it washes away worries and woes and leaves in their place a sense of calm and tranquillity.

Marlin and Frantz have two unique and beautiful voices and with Tides of a Teardrop they put them both to work in a magnificent style. Marlin has a softly spoken Southern drawl to his voice and a hazy smokiness that suits their gentle folk-country music perfectly. Frantz sits on the opposite end of the scale however with a melodic, smooth and heart-rending passion in her voice that wields so much power within it. As each take the lead in various songs you are struck by how perfect their voices are; but when the duo come together to harmonise it is a thing of true beauty. Their voices weave together in astounding and beautiful harmonies so close that you can hear the intimate crackle of the friendship between the two.

Mandolin Orange have a unique, soft and yet compellingly uplifting nature to their work and Tides of a Teardrop is without a doubt one of the most beautiful albums they could have produced. Rich folk and country melodies swirl together with their close personal performance styles to yield and album that warms you to the core.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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