Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche, “I Can Still Hear You” (StorySound)
Here’s what we need now: harmony.
On “I Can Still Hear You,” Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, beautifully blend their warm voices and create a delightful musical counterpoint to the dissonance of 2020.
Not that they ignore the challenges of these times. Most of the material was written by Suzzy, and she and Lucy sing movingly about ugliness, loneliness, longing and death. The crushed flowers of “Ruins” provide an apt metaphor for the toll this year has taken. There are also moments of whimsy in the 11 songs — and lots of small animals.
The pandemic interrupted work on the album shortly after sessions began, so Suzzy and Lucy retreated to their homes in New York City and recorded while in lockdown. Despite the circumstances, their vocals produce a familial glow. Lucy’s cheerful soprano rides above Suzzy’s knowing alto, and they also swap the melody and sing in unison, making it all sound as natural as breathing.
Producer and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Hamlin oversees discreet accompaniment, which ranges from electric guitar and keyboard to French horn and trumpet. Rhythm plays an important role, with mid-tempo pulses echoing the human heart as Suzzy and Lucy contemplate its mysteries.
“Love is a thing that does rule every nation,” goes one lyric. Let’s hear it for harmony.