The Other Years :: S/T


The ingredients are familiar: keening fiddles, interlocking banjo and acoustic guitar, close harmonies worthy of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. But the more you get into The Other Years’ debut self-titled LP, the more cosmic it gets. The sound is earthbound, but the duo’s compositions spiral out in fresh, complex ways, reminiscent of fellow folk renegades Will Oldham and Michael Hurley (the Hurley connection is made explicit on a haunting rendition of the classic “Wildgeeses”). The Other Years have tapped into a deep river of American song while remaining remarkably cliché-free – no easy feat when you’re dealing with this kind of music. There’s a wealth of mystery, weirdness and beauty in Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers’ tunes. “It’s not the leaves or the branches / but the whisper in between,” they sing on one of the album’s standout tracks, the quietly devastating “Talkeetna.” A wonderful line – and something of a mission statement for this fantastic record. words/t wilcox