I was not optimistic about it. I'd picked it up at the library on a whim and was trying it out while sewing, as background music, but I don't do well with background music. If I don't already know it, and I'm not paying attention to it, it just doesn't work.
It turned out to be perfect. I listened to the disc several times in a row, and not because it was good casual listening—it was music that held my attention without my trying.
The general sound of the whole thing: The music is lovely, and has a strong style without each song sounding the same. What I also noticed is their impeccable technique. If anybody has ever doubted the importance of enunciation, direct them to these songs. Just hearing the way they hold the vowel as long as possible before saying the consonant (words "heart" and "meat-eater" come to mind) is enough to make me sigh contentedly, and you may notice how easy it is to understand everything they're saying. And then sometimes they take a look at how the rules are supposed to work, and say, "Nope, we can do better." Just the phrase "with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair" was enough to make me love them for eternity. The way they pause in the middle of 'flowers' somehow holds so much personality it conveys so much more than the words alone.
I start catching these amazing little phrases, even without context:
Love it will not betray you/Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free/Be more like the man you were made to be//There is a design, an alignment, a cry/Of my heart to see/The beauty of love as it was made to be
I won't let you choke/On the noose around your neck
And my head told my heart/Let love grow/But my heart told my head/This time no, this time no
It seems that all my bridges have been burnt/But you say that's exactly how this grace thing works
Can you lie next to her/And give her your heart/Your heart, as well as your body/And can you lie next to her/And confess your love/Your love, as well as your folly/And can you kneel before the king/And say I'm clean, I'm clean
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won
Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all/But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Awake my soul/For you were made to meet your maker
Death is just so full, and man so small/I'm scared of what's behind, and what's before
But there will come a time you'll see/With no more tears/And love will not break your heart/But dismiss your fears/Get over your hill and see, what you find there/With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair
I can't help singing along with much of it. My favorites right now are The Cave, Roll Away Your Stone, White Blank Page, Dust Bowl Dance, and After the Storm.
Finally, I've been listening to it frequently for the past 3 weeks, and I am definitely not tired of it. The only complaint—track 7, Little Lion Man. "Little sisters" of mine, do not listen to that song. It is not shy on swearing. (I don't have the authority to tell anybody else not to, but I might just say that really, it's not something we need.)
Okay, well, I can't think anymore. I think this was coherent, even if I skipped over some of the amazing parts I don't know how to describe. I know not everybody who reads my blog will like this music, but really I'm just secretly hoping Marcus Mumford et all are going to read this and ask me to record a song with them. (Answer: yes, always.)