In March, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter, Leathan Milne, released his second album, There is the Ground Beneath Us. Lush, moody harmonies and folk fundamentals create a sound comparable to that of the Milk Carton Kids. However, the ambient undertones separate it from other folk albums.
In the text that accompanied the video premiere of “Now I Say Goodnight” on Various Small Flames, Milne describes There is the Ground Beneath Us as having an unintentional “underlying theme of death and the passage of time.” This idea is emphasized by the atmospheric quality of the music, as it adds a lethargy and blurs the time signature of the background accompaniment. A message of optimism, however, equalizes the darker undertones. For example, in the song “That’s What I Was Thinking,” the lyrics, “But I just turned and waved goodbye / and then I’d get to wondering / If in the sea below / The siren’s song was hiding in the undertow / That’s what I was thinking when the water she went dry” are tinged with helplessness, but followed by “Then I heard you / Somehow beauty finds a way to never die,” where hope is reinstated.
The progression of the album follows peaks and valleys, characterized by uplifting string compositions that push the listener out of the melancholy of the vocal harmonies. Milne’s talent, however, is demonstrated by his ability to tie the melancholy with the hopeful in both sound and message.