As the newest addition to Righteous Babe Records, Anais Mitchell, has written an album full of tender metaphors, without the bitter tone of heartbreak. The Brightness will probably sit in the folk section of your favorite record store, but this album isn’t as simple as a singer and an acoustic guitar. Mitchell pulls in a piano, lap steel, cello, viola, banjo and other instruments to fill the record with layers upon layers of sound. There is no cynicism here, no post-post modern sarcasm about the life love leaves behind. This 25-year-old songwriter and Vermont native has given us a delicate, layered mythos of reality, complex and lovely.
Her voice, reminiscent of Joanna Newsom, speaks of New Orleans love before the flooding of the city, and when she states, “Nothing comes of the songs people sing, however, sorry they are” in “Hades and Persephone,” you believe her. But the album is moody, and it seems she can’t always decide whether her words are more important than the accompanying music. At times they seem one in the same. However, these aren’t just songs; they are stories. Luckily, there is no scorn here. The Brightness seems more like a moonlit walk than a romp in the sun. Mitchell's romantic, delicate songs are perfect for the days (and nights) we choose to sit still in the midst of our busy lives and listen.