MIPSO – ” Mipso “

Posted: October 16, 2020 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s nothing like a near-fatal car accident for resetting a person’s perspective. Two years ago, not long after the release of Mipso’s fourth album, Edges Run, three members of the indie-Americana quartet—vocalist and guitarist Joseph Terrell, vocalist and fiddle player Libby Rodenbough, and touring drummer Yan Westerlund—got in a car accident that left Terrell bloodied on the asphalt. Their new record Mipso puts Terrell front and centre for the most part but accords more space to Rodenbough, mandolinist Jacob Sharp, and bassist Wood Robinson, the chief players in the North Carolina four-piece.

Even when they’re on lead, they share the spotlight with their peers, which means that harmony takes on the fullest meaning of the word over the course of the album. Terrell, Rodenbough, Sharp and Robinson sing in accordance with each other, sure, but they’re also singing about their collective shock and grief at having come so close to suffering losses, whether from breaking up or losing their lives.

Jacob: “Hourglass” is about shedding the imposed expectations of life we all carry and what it means to arrive at a destination you had convinced yourself you needed to go and find the same emptiness you were surrounded by on the journey to get there. More about getting off a treadmill than finishing a race. On this album I hoped we would collaborate and write together in a different way than we had previously. This song represents that process and accomplishment so well. I had a verse and a howl and knew I needed help stitching it all together. Libby had a chorus, Joseph quickly found a second verse, and Wood and Yan settled into a groove that brought it to a sonic territory we hadn’t been together before. And it all gave more meaning to the nuggets of the song than I knew it to have on my own. Joseph: I love when two totally separate ideas fit together unexpectedly. Not like puzzle pieces, which were made for each other, but in the way two ingredients create a new flavour.

Sometimes one person’s song is just one taste, and it needs someone else’s idea to gain some context, to allow some tension between the two of them, to pose a question. Libby: This song began as an experiment, combining an orphan verse Jacob had written and an orphan chorus I had kicking around. The verse was about the frantic feeling of always trying to beat the clock; the chorus was about realizing the things you were once striving for don’t exist anymore, or maybe they never did. It occurred to us that these two somewhat converse kinds of unease often go together: our anxiety about running out of time morphs into an anxiety about “the times.” Both our sections of song lent themselves to an uptempo pop groove, which felt appropriate for the kind of electric paranoia in the lyrics, though it was somewhat unfamiliar territory for the band. Wood and Yan fell into that groove very naturally, and the rest of the band fell in behind them.

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