’I’ll be your Emmylou/And I’ll be your June/If you’ll be my Gram/And my Johnny too.’ It seems faintly absurd that these young Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara, could produce such a classic slice of country music, but here it is, achingly redemptive, worthy of Emmylou and Gram themselves, as romantic a piece of Americana as you’d care to hear, all peddle-steel sweetness and sublime harmonies, where mention of bitter winds only makes the music warmer, the loneliness keener, the (wished-for) surrender deeper.
’Materialize/Or let the ashes fly…’ Inevitable really, obvious even, but from the first time I heard it I knew this was going to be hard to beat. And so it proved. It moved through the year’s music like a Spanish galleon through trawlers and tugboats. In fact it wasn’t even in the water, it was sailing across the night sky, torch-lit, masts and flags rippling in the breeze. From cowbell start to piano fade-out everything in between is majestic and mysterious, suitably mythic, suffused with feeling. It could attach itself to any number of emotions, embrace them for you, without ever being specifically sentimental, just Victoria Legrand’s siren-voice floating through you, over you, around you.