The Illinois sister duo of Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz intertwine beauty and vulnerability at the core of their alluring new album Canterbury Girls, with thought-provoking lyrics, self reflections, and pristine harmonies making for an impactful project.
They open with the soulful “Self Care,” boldly sharing their inner thoughts about a relationship that’s past its expiration point. “Am I wasting your time cause I can’t cope… / this can’t be right there’s no delight / I know I’m hurting you too,” they sing poignantly. They carry this soulfulness into “Circles,” which finds them lost in disillusionment, searching for stability. Their dreamlike harmonies don’t take away from the integrity of lyrics — “I’m tangled in a dance with a man I hate / Fate isn’t my friend” — powerful words delivered so gently that makes it feel like a timeless song.
Their unflinching honesty also seeps into the psychedelic “Supernatural Sadness,” which finds them confronting the tension of a toxic love. “Only ever brought me down with you … / Misery is a blessing / Realize what I need / Though your love is depressing / Can’t stay here and watch you bleed,” they sing convincingly, while the potent imagery of “Bruises” truly captures their raw vulnerability as they analyze their own pain and insecurities. “Looking at my skin I can feel the imperfections / trying to be with you and not see all my projections … / you said I was enough and I felt nothing,” they express over fragile harmonies.
What makes Lily & Madeleine so striking is their power to transport listeners to another place, as exhibited by the captivating “Canterbury Girls,” their haunting voices uniting the melody and lyrics in a way that makes for one of the album’s most stirring moments. They also display their mastery of intrigue on “Pachinko Song,” whisking listeners into the vibrant space of a pachinko parlor, a series of casino-like slot machines that have been described as the “loudest place in Japan.” The duo uses the chaos of the parlor as a metaphor for trying to escape a toxic person that has them in a stronghold. “I’m just trying to get rid of your spell / I’m scared my bitterness, written all over my face / takes over everything,” they confess. The project ends with the emotive “Go,” where they put forth the stark observation “he said good things come in time / but good things never seem to comfort me” before ending the song with an extended piano instrumental that closes the album on a reflective note.
Lily & Madeleine have penned a body of inspiring and insightful work on Canterbury Girls, their words seamlessly brought to life by the ethereal nature of the album’s brilliant producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who helped deliver a similar effect on Kacey Musgraves’ evocative Golden Hour. There’s a genuine vulnerability that thrives across the album, as they don’t waste a single word, each lyric reading like poetry.
Time slows down listening to Canterbury Girls, as the duo searches for identity and truth in the world surrounding them. With wisdom beyond their years, Lily & Madeleine position themselves to not only be groundbreaking artists in folk music, but to leave a compelling mark in the landscape of modern music.