Asthmatic Kitty Records

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Lily & Madeleine

The Weight of the Globe

Catalog: AKR116
Release date: June 11, 2013
  • CD $8
  • 10inch Includes MP3 $12
  • MP3 $5 Buy
  • iTunes $4.95 Buy

Written over the course of their summer vacation and recorded in three days, The Weight of the Globe is a musical snapshot by teenaged sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz at a pivotal moment in their lives. Madeleine’s off to college, Lily will soon follow, and both sisters find themselves pulled in opposite directions—between a love for the hometown they’ll be leaving behind, and a burgeoning wanderlust, turning their backs on the comforts of the past to step into an uncertain future.

Their songs are about growing up in Indianapolis, but they could be about anywhere. When they sing about “the mountain,” they could be singing about any mountain, literal or figurative; the “city” could be any city. The open-endedness of Lily & Madeleine’s songwriting is very much intentional. They know they’re not the first young people to come of age in Middle America, or anyplace, and songs like “In the Middle” strive to tell a universal story that could take place a hundred years in the past or a hundred years in the future, anywhere in the world.

The arrangements are no less timeless, with a hint of sweet, classic girl-group pop, but lyrics that cut into the sweetness to reach the tough, melancholy core of lives in transition. Lily & Madeleine may not be the first teenagers to address this dilemma, but they express it with uncommon acuteness: Madeleine’s voice may be lovely and soft, but possesses a worldliness and focus one would expect of an older woman; paradoxically her younger sister’s voice is clearer and worldlier still.

Each song on The Weight of the Globe was written as a discrete, self-contained folk-pop statement, but due to the real-time circumstances of recording it, the EP holds together like a collection of interconnected short stories. Taken as a whole, the songs chart a journey from love to disillusionment to heartbreak; the narrator’s weariness in “Tired” persists into “Things I’ll Later Lose” (“I’ve been hearing things, and I’ve been losing sleep”), while the words to “Back to the River” seemingly return to the same mythic river that flows through “In the Middle.”

Thanks to Lily & Madeleine’s spare and direct poetic language, that’s just the way it worked out; there’s nothing calculated about The Weight of the Globe. As sincere as it is precociously sophisticated, it marks the auspicious debut of a strikingly talented musical family.