The method took most of a yr. “It allowed me and Aoife the chance to actually hear to every component because it got here in,” Henry mentioned from his residence in Maine. “And to determine, you realize, do we’d like extra? How a lot farther will we take this?”
Amazingly sufficient, the ensuing album sounds cohesive and intuitive. “It does really feel very collaborative, but it surely additionally feels simply weird and futuristic,” O’Donovan mentioned.
For O’Donovan, “Age of Apathy” is her most private album. Not like her different solo albums, it’s filled with specifics: a bus route, a freeway, the sense of a historic second. “I’ve by no means actually written so actually earlier than,” she added. “Prior to now, I’d shade it in a manner that will attempt to make it a bit of bit extra common. However all these items actually did occur.”
Within the title track, O’Donovan mentions the Taconic Parkway, which runs into upstate New York, and continues, “Go east on 23, previous the farms and the pageant recollections.” She’s citing the Falcon Ridge Folks Pageant in Hillsdale, N.Y., alongside Route 23 on the foot of the Berkshires, the place Crooked Nonetheless discovered its first keen viewers of people listeners and the band offered a miraculous 1,000 unbiased CDs, kick-starting its profession. The track additionally remembers her going to a vigil on the Christian Science Heart in Boston just a few days after the 2001 World Commerce Heart assaults and questioning, “Was it the top or the start?/All I keep in mind is the singing and the music, attempting to drive away the worry.”
The album’s centerpiece, O’Donovan mentioned, is “Elevators,” a brisk waltz that generally skips a beat, as if it will probably’t wait to leap forward. O’Donovan sings about “this massive expertise of being a touring musician, the form of amnesia that you simply get while you’re on tour, the consolation of getting no concept the place you might be, and but figuring out precisely the place you might be,” she mentioned. “Is it going to return to this? Am I going to be again there saying like, the place am I? Who’s that particular person working out the door? Is that me? Is that simply my ghost of excursions previous?”
O’Donovan’s private touchstones are swept into the temper of the album: pensive, decided, ambivalently after which determinedly hopeful. “Age of Apathy” ends with “Passengers,” a quick-strummed, major-key track that glances again towards Joni Mitchell. It imagines a journey by way of interplanetary house: a manner ahead, post-pandemic, post-uncertainty, fortunately in movement once more.
“Music is the whole lot to me — it’s actually crucial factor,” she mentioned. “Once I take into consideration the place do I would like my life to go, the place do I need to be after I’m older, what’s going to occur after we die — the music is the factor that may get us by way of to the top. And music is what might be there after we’re gone.”