Terrible Sons – The Raft Is Not The Shore (Nettwerk) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Raft Is Not The Shore is the exquisite debut album from the ironically-named Terrible Sons (Lauren (L.A Mitchell) and Matt Barus). Neither male children nor anything terrible is involved.  Rather, beauty, hope and the essential goodness of human relationships strongly shine through this album.

There is something special hearing heartfelt songs sung in harmony by those already Terrible Sonsdeeply connected (think Neil and Tim Finn’s Everyone Is Here album, perhaps). Here, observations about the making and potential straining of relationships abound (“You can choose who you love/but you can’t choose their family”).  Highlights include the jaunty hope-full Tomorrow Always Comes (“the more I know /the less I understand”) and Alright Alright, a testament to friendship whose rhythm suggests a Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration enhanced by Matt’s whistling. Last song, Young Blossom, is slow-build, goosebump material driven by Lauren’s piano.

Produced by Tom Healy of Tiny Ruins, there’s a hint of that band’s delicate touch.  And perhaps the dreaminess of French For Rabbits. But more pop sensibility and greater grounding in everyday life.

There’s a paradoxical fragility yet strength in the songs: fragility anchored in life’s uncertainties (reflected in the album title); strength in the pervasive optimism.

A Covid-era inspired and delayed album, the Raft is Not the Shore now sails our way carrying with it the growing reputation of Terrible Sons.

Listen to the album and see them live. Their songs float on a tide of rare depth and beauty.

Perfect album for: A spacious weekend morning.


Robin Kearns

The Raft Is Not The Shore is released April 28th.

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