Hiding amid the flickering acoustic glide and the warm male/female croon of Magic Apron's Orphan Harmony lies a wolf in sheep's clothing. Each song unfolds with candle-lit intimacy, painting a picture of a safe and sound 4 a.m. as the last fleeting moments of consciousness slip away. But while the dreamy and love-stricken atmosphere that billows from the opening song "Bells in Our Fingernails" sets the tone for the rest of the album, it does not last. As songs such as "Dahlia" and "Jackknife Swan" sink deeper into comfortable oblivion, the hint of danger swells.
For vocalist/guitarist David McClung, the key to writing these songs was drawing out a sense of solitude in the face of impending collapse. McClung approached Orphan Harmony knowing that two of his closest friends and musical collaborators, vocalist/guitarist Joanna Bajandas and Rhodes synth player Jeffrey Lerner, were leaving Atlanta for an indefinite period. So Orphan Harmony became a celebration of three friends living in the moment before it all came to an end.
Each song is bound by alluring harmonies that build around the subtle inflections of Bajandas' voice and are countered by mesmerizing bouts of noise and wide-eyed drones that wash over songs such as "Eleanor" and "Love Ocean/Chord." Every note of every song drips with melancholy; but the sentiment never comes to a point as McClung pushes it down to focus on the time at hand, rather than confront the end.
As such, Orphan Harmony is a bittersweet affair, but is by no means a closed chapter.-CHAD RADFORD/CREATIVE LOAFING
CD OF THE MONTHSeptember 2007
"Orphan Harmony is the embodiment of what a therapeutic indie-folk record is meant to be. McClung and Bajandas croon in unison over humble acoustics to produce a mellow, transcendental musical escape.....the ideal soundtrack to anyone's REM sleep...Orphan Harmony is meant to be played in it's entirety, in the most ambient of settings...(the) collaboration is organic, pure, and absolutely delightful...nothing short of sweet serenity." -Nelly Khalil PERFORMER MAGAZINE
"Meanwhile, July's Discovery of the Month has to be Magic Apron, a transcendent duo consisting of singers David McClung and Joanna Bajandas. Sure, we were impressed with David before, when the multi-instrumentalist went under the moniker Thesoulraydio, but this is on a whole other level. Orphan Harmony, their debut on New Street Records, bathes us in sparse, spatial stringwork and electronics under vocal harmonies that are near-heavenly, the whole affair seemingly dawning spontaneously out of nature itself. It's a beaut."-JEFF CLARK/STOMP AND STAMMER
Orphan Harmony is 24 year-old David McClung’s third LP and his first on the New Street label. While McClung has performed and recorded as The Soulraydio for six years, Orphan Harmony is his first composition under the new moniker, Magic Apron. The new name also marks the vital contributions of 21 year-old Joanna Bajandas, whose warm vocals merge seamlessly with McClung’s throughout the album, creating a delicate, wistful blend of intermingled voices. Envisioned as “a love letter to the city and her children and haunts,” Orphan Harmony plays like an extended meditation on the unity of contrasting elements: acoustic guitars overlaid with soaring electrics, intertwining male and female vocals, live drums, sampled loops, e-bow, Rhodes and synths. All the songs were written in a bedroom, on a bed, and this lends the album the air of tender and haunting lullabyes, sung in hushed tones as if to an infant awaiting sleep. The lyrics are sparse, favoring simple and precise imagery that suggests gratitude, nostalgia, and gentle encouragement. McClung’s voice takes nimble forays into the upper register, playfully bending Bajandas’s pure notes to the verge of a delicious breaking, before settling back into the soft and feathery union of tones that make Orphan Harmony such a graceful prayer of an album to get lost inside of. ----