A ‘Jubilee’ with little jubilation

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Laura Bates & Brandon Foote

Jubilee

Earthwork

Jubilee: an ironic name for an album from a band with so little affinity for theatrics.

Laura Bates & Brandon Foote’s freshman release pointedly lacks a contemporary fervor. A Christian folk group from Lansing, Bates and Foote deliver a persistently mellow experience, never quite reaching the potential their respective talents hint at.

The album’s biggest flaw is its inconsistency. Bates, for instance, attempts to bring the music to a more powerful level with her soaring voice on the opener “The Lonesome Whippoorwill,” but she’s held back by mellow instrumentation. “All Will Be Well” presents Bates’s voice as full of clarity and power, but the musical backing falls short, even when the song reaches its would-be climax.

Bates & Foote occasionally succeed with a warm, folksy sound; the simplicity of the mandolin and guitar works well as elevator music. But toward the end of the album, as Bates sings “marching marching marching on” in “Backwoods Baxter Chapel,” the tedium of Jubilee becomes obvious.

ERIC EATON

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