The Mastersons, “Transient Lullaby” (Red House)
Music in marriage is especially mellifluous these days. Whitehorse, Tennis and Little Silver are among the couples turning quality couplets.
And then there’s Chris Masterson and his wife, Eleanor Whitmore, who sing together so beautifully they make even the clunky title of their new album sound pretty.
“Transient Lullaby” is filled with state-of-the-art harmonies. The Mastersons swap the lead and sing in unison, but mostly it’s Chris on the low part, zigging and zagging to create surprising intervals, while Eleanor makes the melody shimmer.
The album’s third standout, along with the singers, is the songs. The Mastersons co-wrote all 11 tunes, and hooks abound as they perform sweet pop (“Perfect”), weepy country (the title cut) and punchy rock (“Fight”). Whitmore makes lovely instrumental contributions on violin, viola and cello, overdubbing to create masterful string arrangements (“You Could Be Wrong,” ”Fire Escape”).
The lyrics scan like a conversation as the couple address commitment, the glory of love and life on the interstate. They address an opponent of same-sex marriage on “You Could Be Wrong,” and whatever the topic, the duo’s singing counters today’s political climate. Crank up the Mastersons and drown out the disharmony.