Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leftovers (Title Tracks): The Angel In The House

The Story: The Angel In The House


Long before Jonatha Brooke was a folkpop star, and Jennifer Kimball a lesser-known but no less talented interpreter and craftsperson in the Boston singer-songwriter scene, the two whet their teeth on the folkscene as The Story, a duo which came together when the two discovered each other finding beautiful, oft-dissonant harmonies among the more mainstream triads while in a chorus at Amherst College in 1981.

Local buskers at first, and then struggling artists with day jobs through most of the decade after graduation, the girls were finally signed in 1989, and things looked good for a while. But sadly, artistic differences soared even as Electra Records cherry-picked 'em from lesser-known folk label Green Linnet for a debut rerelease and a second album in 1993, using their sound to leverage an entry into the fledgling AAA radio format. Though the effort was a critical success by all accounts - WXPN listeners named The Angel In The House the #1 album of the year upon its release - the band dissolved the following year, and Brooke took the name and ran away with it, only shedding "and the Story" from her band name for her own sophomore effort.

Since then, both artists have tended to avoid mention of their time together, as if to suggest that their small canon represents the best of neither. But though the duo was obscure and short-lived, thanks to a command performance as "Jonatha and Jennifer" in the library at my high school just after their first album came out on, their twenty-odd collected works still echo in my ears, surfacing on mix tapes and finding their way into the perennial lists I make in anticipation of a week's theme here at Star Maker Machine - which is where I found this one, a high-production yet no less moving also-ran worth reheating, the title track from their final release.

Come to think of it, this would have made a solid story for our recent Discoveries theme, too. C'est la vie, I guess.

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