words by tom johnson
“Where does the time go?” Karen Peris asked, with a deep sense of solitude, on the opening track of 1999’s ‘Birds Of My Neighborhood’ LP, the fourth album from the innocence mission, and their first of a trio. Call it a foreword, or just an underlying trait of their character, but that question, with all of its sorrow and yearning, has seemingly veined its way through all of Peris’ and her band’s work, lending each album, each word and the space between, an air of deep melancholy and significance. It’s no wonder that they count Sufjan and Sam Beam as fans; both of whom have covered songs by the band over the past few years.
Returning this Summer with their first new album in more than four years, the innocence mission have joined the wonderful Bella Union label, after Peris and label-founder Simon Raymonde collaborated on last year’s Lost Horizons project. And it’s from that record, titled Sun On The Square and released in July, that brand new track ‘Green Bus’ is taken from, and one which GFP is extremely excited to unveil here today. Making good on those aforementioned sentiments, the new song is delivered with an exquisite and deep sense of wandering, the tug of time pawing at the song’s edges as it drifts humbly, beautifully forward through its four-and-a-half minutes.
Having seemingly collected dust and cracks over the years, Peris’ vocal is as humble and haunting as ever. Floating above the subtle instrumentation, which lingers deep in the background like an evening shadow, it remains the most nourishing of instruments, a gentle and warm voice, familiar and familial, that brings the world, and our own place within it, in to sharp context, even while telling its own distinct story as it does so beautifully here; singing slowly of the ways of the world, the quiet power people hold over each other; the reach for something that can’t be held on to.
And what would I bring you today in the meantime?
Fruit from the sunlight, quartz from the bay?
And where will I find this, perfect and wondrous?
I look into shops, I slip in to rain,
slip in to rain.
A most welcome return, from a truly treasured act, ‘Green Bus’ is an utterly captivating next-step in the innocence mission’s journey, in all the ways we’ve come to expect, and more so. Just like the steady passing of time, just like the world itself. Listen below.
‘Sun On The Square’ is released on July 6th, via Bella Union