Published Feb 10, 2015The debut album from Newfoundland folk duo Fortunate Ones starts with a pair of songs overflowing with the hallmarks of modern folk, as quiet strumming leads to swelling crescendos, with lots of empty space in between. While likeable enough, it feels a little like the duo are too confortable in that well-treaded territory — until the album quickly reveals itself to be something different entirely. The Bliss is a much more quiet, intimate affair than those opening tracks indicate.
After the dark stomp of "Lay Me Down," the album settles into an emotional valley where plucked notes and intricate fingerpicking replace strumming and the voices of the duo do the real heavy lifting. Music this supple and quiet has a tendency to lose momentum if not accompanied by worthy lyrics, and it's here the duo shine. Lines like, "I'm scared to lose what I got if I got out of your way" (from "A Light Will Come") are truly arresting and deserve pause. Those sweeping crescendos make a welcome reappearance on the joyously sad title track, but by that time they are a welcome reprieve from the melancholy air that permeates the middle of the record. The Bliss is a fairly strong, if inconsistent, debut record from a pair of folkies who clearly know what they're doing. (Old Farm Pony)