Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Put Your Mind at Ease with Mandolin Orange's Comforting 'Tides of a Teardrop'

Mandolin Orange's <em>Tides of a Teardrop</em> comes out Feb. 1 via Yep Roc.
Kendall Bailey Atwater
/
Courtesy of the artist
Mandolin Orange's Tides of a Teardrop comes out Feb. 1 via Yep Roc.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.


cover
/
/

After a 30-second bath of warm acoustic instrumentation, Andrew Marlin opens Mandolin Orange's sixth album with a few perfectly tone-setting words: "Just like an old friend, kinder than expected..." It's clear, basically instantaneously, that you're in for maximum comfort; Tides of a Teardrop is engineered to settle worried minds, slow the blood and lend an empathetic ear.

Nothing the North Carolina folk-pop duo does from there contradicts that notion, but Tides of a Teardrop still strikes a deceptively tricky balance: It's palliative but never boring, sweet but never cloying, worn but never tired. Over these 10 songs, Marlin and bandmate Emily Frantz lay out a bittersweet series of odes to holding precious memories close ("Golden Embers"), seeking protection from others ("The Wolves"), slowing down and letting life come to you ("Time We Made Time"), and so on. These are songs about life lessons that feel lived-in and hard-won.

Each of Mandolin Orange's stories gets told amid a soft-focus arrangement that occasionally welcomes in a sweep of strings or sprightly flecks of the band's titular instrument. No matter how they're dispensed, every note seems to sweep in and out on a reassuring breeze — just like an old friend, kinder than expected.

Stream the Album

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)