11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title of Mandolin Orange’s third album hints at big topics handled with a biblical sort of gravity. But while it’s true that This Side of Jordan touches on primal themes of hard living, the bonds of affection, and looming mortality, these tracks have a vigor and stubborn optimism that keeps the music from surrendering to heaviness. Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz match their voices seamlessly as they unreel modern-day folk tales rooted in the landscape of their North Carolina home base. The arrangements capture an antique glow similar to the best work of Gillian Welch and The Civil Wars, with Frantz’s plaintive fiddle and Martin’s adept acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin work speaking as eloquently as the duo’s lyrics. Bittersweet ruminations like “House of Stone” and “The Runaround” are leavened by the easy glide of “Turtle Dove & the Crow” and “Calvary.” Fleeting character sketches and vividly drawn vignettes lend an evocative depth to “Black Widow,” “Morphine Girl,” “Hey Adam," and similar tracks. With an understated virtuosity, Mandolin Orange conjures a timeless world.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The title of Mandolin Orange’s third album hints at big topics handled with a biblical sort of gravity. But while it’s true that This Side of Jordan touches on primal themes of hard living, the bonds of affection, and looming mortality, these tracks have a vigor and stubborn optimism that keeps the music from surrendering to heaviness. Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz match their voices seamlessly as they unreel modern-day folk tales rooted in the landscape of their North Carolina home base. The arrangements capture an antique glow similar to the best work of Gillian Welch and The Civil Wars, with Frantz’s plaintive fiddle and Martin’s adept acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin work speaking as eloquently as the duo’s lyrics. Bittersweet ruminations like “House of Stone” and “The Runaround” are leavened by the easy glide of “Turtle Dove & the Crow” and “Calvary.” Fleeting character sketches and vividly drawn vignettes lend an evocative depth to “Black Widow,” “Morphine Girl,” “Hey Adam," and similar tracks. With an understated virtuosity, Mandolin Orange conjures a timeless world.

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