On Treacherous Terrain with Lily & Madeleine and Gemma Ray

Underrated veterans deliver the goods again

Album Review

They’re not outrageous. They don’t strike out in bold new directions. But Lily & Madeleine and Gemma Ray consistently turn out strong albums, quietly compiling impressive bodies of work. Overlook them at your peril.

Lily & Madeleine
Canterbury Girls
New West

Sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz specialize in lustrous, piano-based pop highlighted by the kind of magical vocal harmonies that siblings can seem to achieve so naturally. Their most affecting album yet, Canterbury Girls is a bracing mixture of opposites, blending beautiful sounds and harsh sentiments with deadly skill. “Self Care” observes, “Your beautiful eyes are sad and scared/But I can’t make myself care”; “Bruises” amplifies the sense of numbing alienation, confessing, “You said I was enough and I felt nothing.” It’s not all gorgeous disconnect: “Supernatural Sadness” adds a bracing dash of ‘70s dance grooves, and “Analog Love” celebrates midnight romance. Ultimately, though, this haunting work feels like an unsettling visit to treacherous territory.

Gemma Ray
Psychogeology
Bronzerat

Britain’s Gemma Ray has been practicing her evocative brand of dreamy pop for more than a decade. With ominous melodies that wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond or Hitchcock film, Psychogeology mixes her cool, poised voice with tales of emotional extremes, to striking effect. “It’s Only Loneliness” offers reassurance amidst desolation, while “Blossom Crawls” finds her declaring, “I’m ready to jump/I’m ready to be happy.” Handled with less finesse, “In Colour” could become a splashy hit megaballad. This enticing album makes great late-night background listening, but rewards close attention, too.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate