Having last month announced their new album “Sun On The Square”, released 6th July via Bella Union, The Innocence Mission have now shared the first music video from the LP. Featuring beautiful, distinctive animation created by the band’s multi–talented vocalist Karen Peris, the video for “Green Bus” can be viewed here. Of the video Peris says: “This was my first attempt at animating a whole song. It was truly a fun process, but also helped me feel some things about the emotion behind the song that I may not have fully realised while I was writing it.”
For listeners of The Innocence Mission, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania trio are beyond a favourite 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.
1999’s “Birds Of My Neighborhood” kickstarted the innocence mission as we know them today, following three albums as a quartet that drew comparisons to The Sundays and 10,000 Maniacs. But when drummer Steve Brown left, Karen Peris (guitars, piano, pump organ, accordion, voice), husband Don (guitars, drums, voice) and Mike Bitts (upright bass) forged ahead with an orchestral, at times cinematic, folk pop sound which they felt was truer to their real nature in any case, a sound rich in atmosphere, innately sad, but ultimately hopeful.
Sufjan Stevens calls The Innocence Mission “moving and profound”, adding, “What makes Karen Peris’ lyrics so remarkable is the economy of words, sensory language, concrete nouns – everyday objects take on tremendous meaning.” Images of nature, colour, weather, and season are continued throughout the album. “For me it’s helpful to be able to see the song, if I can” Karen says.
Despite her references to nature, Karen says she often hears “city scenes” in “Sun On The Square” – part of the record’s own air of mystery. Such as the title track, inspired by Astrud Gilberto,‘60s folk and pop, and her “admiration for someone going out into the world bravely and in kindness – the possibility for one person to be a light in the world. That love will prevail over fear.”
Love and fear, longing and loss, belief and awe – Sun On The Square is an emotional journey, and destined to find new fans for the band while re-establishing contact with those already in the fold. Either way, prepare to have your heart broken and your breath taken. Tears might fall. You have been warned.
“Sun On The Square” will be released 6th July via Bella Union.