Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz are sisters who haven’t had your usual, run of the mill high school life. Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, they recorded their debut EP The Weight of the Globe in between classes and announced themselves to a national audience during 2013, releasing their first full album Lily and Madeleine on Asthmatic Kitty to critical acclaim.
Almost a year to the day and here we are on the brink of a second album release and there’s a matureness and confidence that comes when a duo have such a deep understanding.
I started to listen to Fumes on a windy and rainy day in the UK and immediately the weather outside could have been tropical, such is the place to which this album takes you. There’s elegance, buoyancy and whimsical charm aplenty and it’s wrapped up in a folk pop package that ends up being one of the musical highlights of the year.
Opener, and title track, ‘Fumes’ sets the most beautiful of tones. It’s freshness in a bottle that you can easily picture being released into the ocean that Lily and Madeleine float in on a boat on the cover of the album. Already released into the world, new single ‘Rabbit’ is an uplifting affair that has been the subject of a competition by the band, challenging fans to record a video for the song here.
The pace changes again for ‘Ride Away’ with fitting lyrics to accompany a subsequent review as “Work by the window / Seeing the sun dance on the ground / Deep in your bones / Nobody knows the treasure you found” sums up the feelings of writing about this newly discovered gem. The song floats away in the girls’ boats with them and it’s a sound that captures the feeling of drifting into the sunset.
There’s a charming ambience to ‘Can’t Admit It’ while ‘The Wolf Is Free’ is a mysteriously dark tale that takes the maturity of the album to another level with the subtleties of the sisters’ vocals creating somewhat of an aura about them. ‘Hold On To Now’ is a prettier track about hanging on to the moments that matter.
‘Lips and Hips’ builds softly from a piano intro to include drum beats and strings, forming perfect accompaniments to those delicate yet commanding vocals. ‘Peppermint Candy’ is the most ‘pop’ track on the album, starting with the sound of school children playing and capturing an innocence in the sisters that’s clearly still deep inside them despite their quick rise to prevalence.
‘Blue Blades’ is a brilliantly placed final track, layered up again with piano and strings to create a closing atmosphere which is fitting for the end of this particular chapter in the duo’s fast developing career.
Lily and Madeleine have spoken of Fumes as a ‘growing up’ album. On this evidence, it’s mission accomplished with a statement made. It’s a bold arrival with the scariest fact of all being their young ages and that they’ve only just begun.