If cherry-picked into a longish EP, We Made It Home would be a true force. As it stands, this second album by the duo (the first released just under just Melody’s name) is a bit too much of a mixed bag, several stellar tunes mixed in with a couple of lesser ones that hold it back. The good tunes, though, far outweigh the bad — “We Made It Home”, “Betelgeuse”, and “Black Grace”, in particular, are brilliant. In these songs, Walker shows herself to be not just a talented songwriter (in that vague, professional sense we like to use the term), but a real and very thoughtful voice — the sort of artist who seems to know something about the world, and who’s willing to share the knowledge in song.
That’s hefty praise, but keep it in mind as you listen to the near perfect “Black Grace”, which puts every “heaven-on-earth” mainstream country song to shame. The same goes for “Betelgeuse”, which tosses off hard-won wisdom like “And as you linger longer / we begin to understand / there’s a universe beyond our struggling.” After a handful of other gems, though, there are questionable choices, like the duo’s straightforward cover of “Graceland” — pleasant but unnecessary — and the old-fashioned, feminist anthem “Yellow Haired Girl”.