The Innocence Mission,
Birds of My Neighborhood
(Kneeling Elephant Records, 1999)

The Innocence Mission have once again concocted a palette full of memorable swirling melodies that evoke time, place and spirit. After a four-year absence, the Innocence Mission pay homage to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell with their fourth album, Birds of My Neighborhood. "We've been so affected by their music," says lead singer Karen Peris. "I think we're drawn to sparse song arrangements in part because we've loved their records so much."

Although this album is traditional in its folk style, many of the songs arrangements carry electric guitar, organ, piano, bass and tambourine with a splatter of drums. This is a somewhat departure from the Victorian rock of their past, which includes three albums produced by Larry Klein and Dennis Herring on A&M Records.

The Innocence Mission have ultimately taken over where they left off since the release of Glow, the band's third album, which boasted a Top 20 AAA hit "Bright as Yellow." The last song on Glow, "I Hear You Say So," was not only a fan favorite, but a predecessor to what you'll hear on Birds of My Neighborhood.

"Sometimes with songs there is a longing to express what is inexpressible, the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of being alive, and to say how hope illuminates the darker days," says Karen. For nearly 20 years, it's this kind of music the Innocence Mission has been making -- music that touches the heart of the soul and the mind. Yes, indeed, the birds have finally returned home, and so have the Innocence Mission.

[ by Keith Abbott ]

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