Arguably the theme of May Your Kindness Remain is flaws – Courtney Marie Andrews’ flaws (“guess I’m rough, rough around the edges”), flaws in possessions (“this house ain’t much of a house, but it’s a home”), flaws in others (“if you can’t find the closeness, you need the kindness to survive”) – but it is an album with few flaws of its own.
Individually, the songs are simultaneously catchier and more musically ambitious than Andrews’ previous offerings. The arrangements are bigger and bolder – whether that’s an indication of a record label’s growing confidence in Andrews, one can only speculate.
Whilst the album consistently exceeds expectation, there are one or two forgivable dips from excellence into the merely above-average. That said, where there troughs there are inevitably peaks – none less so than lead single, album opener and titular track May Your Kindness Remain, which is, for lack of a more elegant phrase, an absolute banger. A banger that, along with second single Kindness Of Strangers, highlights CMA’s vocal ability, which (if we’re being unnecessarily critical) has sometimes been found lacking in her previous albums, as opposed to her live sets, where it reaches its full potential.
Speaking of which, long term fans will be happy to hear properly recorded versions of songs that have been part of Andrews’ live set for some time – noticeably Border and Rough Around The Edges, both of which have been in the singer’s repertoire since touring her previous album, An Honest Life.
Converse to its under-confident, wearisome subjects, the actual substance of May Your Kindness Remain is triumphant. This is an album that feels much more established and confident than Andrews’ back catalogue. It may sound like nonsense but May Your Kindness Remain feels much more like an album, rather than a selection of tracks. That is credit to Andrews’ increasing maturity as a songwriter and artist.