For listeners of the innocence mission, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania trio are beyond a favorite band, more like a beloved companion, such is their intensity and fragility of their sound and vision, spearheaded by Karen Peris’ heartbreaking, breathtaking voice. Those fans include Sufjan Stevens and Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), who have both covered innocence mission songs, and in whose company the trio deserve to be bracketed.
“All I cannot say I hope you know, all you cannot say I hope I can hear,” sings Karen Peris on “Look Out from Your Window,” the strong, circular, and somewhat quirky third track from the innocence mission’s latest album, Sun on the Square. These lines, possibly spoken to her children — one of whom actually plays viola on the song– could be called emblematic for the album.
In their own way, Karen and her husband and fellow guitarist, Don Peris, have spent years trying to voice the inexpressible. Since forming the innocence mission in 1985 with Mike Bitts, upright bassist and friend from their Catholic high school, the dreamy, orchestral folk band have spent ten full-lengths speaking to our collective memory and awe at life’s mysteries. Their songs are full of sensory imagery and deeply felt instrumentation, and it’s their unique way of trying to approach universal joys and sorrows that allows the band to achieve the emotional connection with their listeners that makes them so special.
“A most welcome return, from a truly treasured act, ‘Green Bus’ is an utterly captivating next-step in the innocence mission’s journey, in all the ways we’ve come to expect, and more so. Just like the steady passing of time, just like the world itself.” – Gold Flake Music UK
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