Ma Muse (aka Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker) - ‘Integration of The Awkward’(October 03, 2012)
There’s a faint redolence of 60’s psychedelia within the mystical other-worldly folk-ish music of duo Ma Muse (aka Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker) and their album ‘Integration of The Awkward’. A reminiscence aided by the cover art, which hails back to the surreal art favoured by albums produced by various valley and canyon ‘head’ bands, although they deliver a sound that only faintly echoes that time.
This is Americana-tinged ‘folkadelia’ with a delicate touch of harmonically rich vocals weaved around personal histories and thoughtful narratives.
The arrangements are constructed with a certain simplicity used to good effect to create the foundation for their vocals. As well as vocals Sarah handles double bass, octave mandolin and ukelele, while Karisha plays guitar, double bass and octave mandolin. On the album they receive help from Mike Wofchuck (percussion) and Bridget Law (violin).
From the delicate, almost fragile ‘Goodness Is’ through the more robust ‘Hard to Handle’ with its eloquent multi-layered harmonies and the funky enjoyment contained in ‘Love Poem’ to the acceptance of truth held within ‘You’re Not Crazy’ this is an album that rises, falls, slides and shifts. It’s almost a case of vocal-athletics as Sarah and Karisha use the scope of their vocal reach to make the themes of their songs expand and flourish. Laid back sentiment changes places with intense feelings and then just as quickly moves from forgiving to reproachful.
I listened to this album a few times and the more I did the more I enjoyed their voices, Sarah and Karisha have something rather good going on here.
Reviewer: Dan Holland