Christy&Emily’s Superstition is a quintessential fall release. Its moody, psych-folk tracks sound as though they were unearthed from a damp pile of moss and dead leaves. That may sound like a knock, but honestly, isn’t that the sound you’re looking for around that time of year? And as painfully indie as the album cover may be, that basic cardboard ink drawing of a bear does strike a nice visual of what to expect.
Christy&Emily are a Brooklyn duo that consists of Christy Edwards, an artist (she drew that bear!) and self-taught guitarist with a teenage love for Metallica, and Emily Manzo, a classically trained pianist. These influences meet and comingle on Superstition as a blend of folk, classical, and post-punk influences and rhythms that often sound similar track to track, but still hold up as an intriguing experience.
Superstition is fairly straightforward about its themes: fallacies of belief. Whether these manifest themselves as fantasy (“Chicken Little”) or reality (“Lover’s Talk”) is of no consequence. Inside the physical album, you’ll find a paper foldout of more illustrated animals acting out various superstitions, my favorite being, “Always carry an acorn to ward off lightning.”
Many tracks feature emotive viola, cello, and vibraphone, such as “Golden Rings,” which contains a string solo worthy of The Nutcracker. But continuing on, “Gueen’s Head,” an homage to the title of their 2007 debut on The Social Registry, is filled with churning distortion and layers of sweet-voiced lyrics. “Lover’s Talk” displays some of the best vocal harmonies on the album and blends in to the title track, a creepy little ditty with fevered, tempestuous strings and a video featuring murderous stuffed animals, which was directed by Edwards and shot by Mat Marlin of Pterodactyl. “105 & Rising” offers some variety from the duo and relies on more of a garage rock influence. The final track, “Tigers,” features the distinctive drumming of Kid Millions from Oneida backing up Christy&Emily’s childlike vocals, which are reminiscent of Tilly & the Wall on this track. Millions adds a lot to this song, and it acts as a great closer, since the album remains fairly void of percussion up to this point.
It’s easy to get caught up in the instrumentals and forget that the words even exist, because as an album, Supersition is a mélange of enduring noise texture: reverb, analog delay, muffled, prolonged vocals. These are all sounds that keep feeding a persistent Galaxie 500 comparison and will nestle themselves comfortably alongside a dark and dreary fall night.