It’s a treasure to stumble upon new music that for one reason or another resonates deeply within you. I selected Crepusculo after learning that Petracovich singer Jessica Peters Malmberg had made the album while pregnant, and then tragically lost her son shortly after he was born. Grieving a recent miscarriage myself, Crepusculo did for me what only those rare special albums can: it comforted me, let me cry, helped me heal, and taught me to create a place in my heart for what I had lost.
Crepusculo (Spanish for “twilight”) utilizes the standard drums, guitar, and bass setup and is richly textured with a multitude of other instruments, including piano, cello, trumpet, harmonium, and banjo. Described as folk pop, this latest album from Petracovich accomplishes an earthiness that brings each song to life. The songs are powerful, thanks to masterful lyrics and Malmberg’s stunning voice that is at times soaring and smooth and later hushed and reverent.
“Heaven Help the Day” is the opening track__, and it begins with an upbeat piano that propels the song to a quick crescendo. It’s a perfect match for the empowering lyrics about an absent father. Malmberg warns the father to beware coming back to the family, and if he does, she sings “I’d make you love me then I’d leave you all alone.” A compelling and driving banjo opens “Sleep It Off/Lie Down,” in which Malmberg sings out a challenge to “try to make me unsad/just try making me glad.” It’s a song that wonderfully depicts embracing sadness and revels in the beauty of fully experiencing human emotion.
While Crepusculo undeniably deals with painful losses, the beauty of the album is that there’s a sense of lightness and fun throughout the record. For example, in “San Rafael,” Malmberg dreamily imagines floating above traffic and “over dew and honey grass and sleeping deer; over rollers, hills with backs like dinosaurs.” A sense of whimsy threads itself through many of the songs.
What the music in this album accomplishes is a spirit of graciousness. It’s a snapshot of what it means to be alive, and that is a welcome solace. Crepusculo is an album for everyone that offers an unforgettable joy listening to each song as it magically unfolds.