The Mastersons’ latest record, “Transient Lullaby,” may be best described as folk meets country. The soft and melodious tunes this album offers are, indeed, quiet enough to be described as lullabies, but that doesn’t mean these songs will put you to sleep.
No, the lyrical properties of the album, combined with the harmonious voices of this husband and wife tag-team, make the record an interesting listen. There are times when the album is somber and soft, like during the songs “This Isn’t How It Was Supposed to Go” and “Happy When I’m Movin’.”
These moments allow listeners to sink into the balance between Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore’s voices.
But songs like the opening number, “Perfect,” and “Fight” carry a steady beat. The lyrics are good and the music matches the tone of them. The duo exhibits a real understanding of when and where to employ drums, violins, and other nuances throughout the record, making it feel cohesive but not boring—well-rounded but not without some sense of personal sound.
Overall, “Transient Lullaby” remains on par with the duo’s previous records, excepting the fact that it’s much less electric. There are fewer instances of percussion and electric guitar working their way through the instrumentation in this record than the album that proceeded this one, “Good Luck Charm.” The quieting of The Mastersons on this album is a pleasant step back, an artistic choice that showcases their ability to play off of one another’s harmonies and energies.
From sweet and low songs like “Highway 1,” which really encapsulates the freedom this album was trying to get at, to hot and fiery tunes like the aforementioned “Fight” that emit a relatable passion present in romance between two lovers, this album really covers some ground. “Fire Escape” is arguably one of the sweetest tracks, pleading gently but fervently for rekindling. Then there’s “Shine On,” a song that, with its violin accompaniment and cymbal crashes, transports listeners into the position of two people who reject the chaos of the world to find steadiness in one another. This record by The Mastersons is a romantic journey for audiences. The folk qualities of the instruments on this album deliver these subjects to listeners in the perfect way, never stepping on the lyrics and always adding to the emotion. Similarly, the voices of this married couple meld in a way that will make you believe in what they’re singing, whether it be despair or overwhelming happiness.