Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the twin brothers of The National, have teamed up with their sister Jessica Dessner and composer Rebekka Karijord for a new band called Complete Mountain Almanac. Their self-titled debut album is out on January 27th via Bella Union, and they’re celebrating the announcement today by sharing its lead single “February.”
Complete Mountain Almanac comprises 12 songs, each named after a month of the year. The record is billed as an amalgam of folk and chamber music that creates “a cocoon-like atmosphere that draws the listener into a stand-alone universe,” though we’re betting we’ll also hear some of the same gentle indie rock elements on Complete Mountain Almanac that the Dessners bring to The National and their other work.
Jessica, a dancer and artist, tackled the visual elements of the album release cycle; soon after beginning the project, however, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While Complete Mountain Almanac was largely inspired by the impending doom of climate change, Jessica naturally tapped into her own personal experiences for inspiration, making a project that’s just as intimate as it is all-encompassing.
“February is a song that began as a reckoning with the profound physical changes wrought by breast cancer and how they threaten to dismantle every aspect of life, and yet, somehow the spirit rises, remains constant, immutable, a force, like nature,” Jessica said in a statement.
Vocalist Karijord added, “To me, February is like an ancient myth. A road trip dance, moving between vulnerability and resilience. It journeys through layers of odd meters, restlessness and mystery, and then lands in a musical landscape of acceptance and clarity.”
Driven by an ostinato of ascending finger-plucked strings, “February” is a subtle baroque-pop number that feels reminiscent of Seven Swans-era Sufjan Stevens. Its layered vocal harmonies make the track feel at once ominous and hopeful, not unlike the feeling of watching climate activists fight for a better future.
Pre-orders for the Dessners’ Complete Mountain Almanac are ongoing. Below, see its artwork and tracklist, and listen to “February.”
Bryce recently chatted with Consequence about composing the soundtrack to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.
Complete Mountain Almanac Artwork:
Complete Mountain Almanac Tracklist: