Like the stuffed animals, vase and five wilting roses pictured on the back of the Roches’ new Rykodisc release, “Can We Go Home Now,” the singing sisters’ act is one of homeyness and comfort.
Skyscraping harmonies, simple melodies and the gentle accompaniment of acoustic guitars — the trademarks of their 1979 debut disc — blossomed fully over an effortlessly paced 100 minutes, a statement of artistic wholeness and grace personified.
The test, 16 years after Maggie, Terre and Suzzy burst out of the New York folk-club scene as the quirkiest kids around, is whether their wide-eyed innocence and spectacularly descriptive songs translate as well in adulthood as they did a generation earlier. “Can We Go Home Now” is certainly the finest disc since their debut, and the half-dozen songs they performed from it Tuesday lifted the evening’s spirit and humor.
Images of neighbors’ homes, “Christlike” beaus and parents’ sayings packed the new songs with tangible realism. The delivery is generally sweet, so much so that when they sing off-key about romance gone sour, their point hits home that much harder.
Terre and Suzzy feign a sibling rivalry in which Suzzy, who leads the band, does most of the storytelling, with Terre playing the self-conscious know-it-all. The shtick works marvelously.
This is roots music that could conceivably touch millions, as it’s drawn from personal tales of suburban-urban-rural transformations that remain universal in their concerns. The trio’s older material has aged gracefully, and in the evening’s tender setting seemed all the more viable and appreciated.