Listening to Hiraeth is like leaving your front door open in the middle of the night. You won’t see what’s coming in until it comes across the threshold. Haunted memories. Long-lost loves. The dearly departed. In the dark of night, our familiars cast alien shadows and cloud our memories. Like the Welsh word it’s named for, Hiraeth is a record of reminiscence for a time, place, and people who may never have been. It’s a word with no English equivalent, and it perfectly captures the mood and feel of this record.
It’s in the way 100 Mile House play out these songs of vulnerability, drawing back gauzy veils to reveal the truth at the music’s core. They keep things as simple as a pair of voices and some strings (“Brighton Beach”), and frame poignant lyrics in unadorned, poetic arrangements (“Last Branch”). At every musical turn, though, Denise McKay and Peter Stone offer listeners an entry point into their world.
“If all we have is each other” they harmonize on “All We Have”, “then that’s enough.” It’s more than enough, though, isn’t it? Having someone there to sit with you through the cold nights, and warmest days, and the bleakest seasons; that’s everything.