It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which folk tradition Mourning Dove favors, which is far from a bad thing. The duo of Lisa Stubbs and Niel Brooks seem to view classic English folk and Appalachian traditions with equal fondness, resulting in a debut EP that sounds tailor-made not only for those who remember Fairport Convention or Nick Drake, but also for fans of lush, lilting modern acts like First Aid Kit or Lily & Madeleine.
The disc’s five songs are characterized by Stubbs’s clear vocals and by subtle acoustic guitar interplay, as well as a sense of twilit magical realism in which flowers spring from palms and music reverberates through the rocks. “Flower Song” comes in on an insistent bass line and violins that build a sense of unease before settling into a pastoral pace, while a pedal steel-limned cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” not only mutates into an unexpected and fast-paced dance rhythm, but it also comes full-circle with the rhythms that dominate the end of “Mourning Dove”. Chrysalis is a promising debut, and one that’s over far too quickly.