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Nature Airliner’s blend of heartfelt vocals and spartan guitar melodies is on full display with its debut album, Cardinal. Consisting of former Edmontonian Laurier Tiernan and his wife de él Eiko, the Japan-based folk duo have previously released a half dozen singles and an EP before cementing the 10 songs found on Cardinal.
Much of the album hews close to the early-Leonard Cohen style of plaintive lyrics backed by barebones acoustic guitar. Vocal duties on most songs come courtesy of Eiko, with Tiernan holding the harmony low end on some tracks.
The set of songs kicks off with For You Alone, the album’s first single, a lilting love-laden track propelled by jaunty fretwork. It’s followed up by the ballad, Twin Flames, which speaks to the bonding of soulmates.
Not all songs on Cardinal deal with matters of the heart. Tiernan describes the track Letting Go as a “bloodletting” as it pulls on his struggles from him through suicidal tendencies and depression. In the song, he purges himself from the bleakness and urges others to remain persistent and punch through the darkness.
The no-frills production gives plenty of space for the vocals and melodies to resonate. Tiernan says they spent years searching for a suitable recording studio, eventually choosing the former Columbia Studio A in Nashville. The resulting sparse recordings highlight the duo’s strengths but also expose some of the weaker elements such as potboiler lyrics.
Tiernan cut his teeth in the punk rock scene, but little of that pain and fury is to be found in Nature Airliner. Aside from the occasional frenzied acoustic guitar strumming, Tiernan says Nature Airliner is his outlet to inspire people to live their lives to the fullest despite the odds.
Cardinal was released May 6, 2022 on SoundCloud and Reverbnation and is available through iTunes, Amazon and other major music retailers. visit natureairliner.com.