The McClymonts are an act who embody the phrase 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' - they have won many fans and made a career out of their immediately identifiable sound. For this new release they could easily have produced an album like the last one, Two Worlds Collide, and fans like me would have been very content.
Instead, they have demonstrated that they are not only a great act with a great sound - they are musicians and songwriters who are learning and growing. Here's To You & I accordingly shows a lyrical and musical maturity that befits a band who are now one EP and four albums into their career.
Previous albums have relied on a mix of sweet ballads - usually sung by Samantha McClymont - and more uptempo, often 'rockier' songs. Here's To You & I integrates those two strands of the McClymonts sound and delivers strongly constructed songs which almost all contain light and dark, soft and loud, whether musically or emotionally.
The lyrics of most of the songs are personal - one song was written for Samantha's upcoming wedding. another (the first with lead vocals by youngest sister Mollie) about a break-up. As in the past, Brooke McClymont sings most of the lead vocals, but the McClymonts wouldn't be who they are without those incredible harmonies, and each song delivers on that front.
This review could be spent going through each song - I'll happily devote as many words as possible to this group - but it is perhaps more meaningful to describe what it's like to listen to the McClymonts overall. Music is about emotions - for the performers, for the listeners. Most of us respond to music because of how it makes us feel, not because of whether we admire the chord progressions - the chord progressions, of course, deliver the feeling but that technical side of music is invisible to most listeners. And the feeling the McClymonts consistently deliver is joy. Even their sad songs are joyful to listen to, because one can hear the joy the sisters take in what they do. Joy is an emotion that is not often discussed - 'happiness' usually gets more attention - but it is a pure, physically felt emotion that is so important to the human experience. I will always love the McClymonts because they make me feel joyful, whether I'm listening to their albums or seeing them perform live. For that reason alone they are treasures. The fact that they've released yet another great album is a bonus.
Here's To You & I is out now.