J. Tillman’s voice slides in through every pore and gently rubs you like a chamois cloth (vegan variey, of course) from the inside out. Beautiful. Sweet. Stunning. Transfixing. A tender forest of jewel-like enchantment spun by elegant songbeads on delicate golden thread.
Highlights: The title track, Year in the Kingdom, opens the album in an invitation akin to a kitchen door swinging comfortably open between nourishing delights indoor and out. Crosswinds is a meditative gem with tender Gaelic flair. Earthly Bodies, the track posted above, lies somewhere in the middle of the tone of the album as a whole, humming at first with a synth-harmonium-sounding pad, adorned by simple acoustic guitar, prominent twinkling of piano, occasional hanging-back percussion, one swell of strings and a chorus of harmonies here and there – it is a wonderfully produced and mixed piece. Howling Light sparkles instrumentally with up-front, bright dulcimer embellished by velvety strings, harmonies and barely-there handclaps. There is No Good in Me is a tearjerker with a final almost-redeeming move through purgatory into what’s hopefully the direction of light (but maybe it’s not). The final phrase of the hypnotic last song, Light of the Living, jolts with a sudden hymn-like surge, a moderately alarming wake up that feels like a reminder that the service has come to a close, so put your faith in the light, hallelujah, and now go on about your day.