The music is characteristically quiet and introspective but, as with much of their work with Kurihara, more lush and enveloping than the spacious Galaxie 500 sound. Using little more than acoustic guitar, keyboards and Krukowski’s jazz-tinged drumming, they have crafted arrangements for these 11 pieces that sound remarkably full-bodied. And it would appear that the natural constraints of the soundtrack form have worked to their advantage. The songs are concise and focused, hitting their melodic or lyrical marks and then quickly moving to the next scene without getting weighted down by repetition or digression.
The film, which stars Norman von Holtzendorff, centers on a man coping with the death of his father, a successful portrait painter, and the conflicted artistic and personal legacy he has left behind. This is deeply intimate material for Yang, who had recently lost her own artist father and was left to sort through a storage space of his artwork and what she refers to in her director’s statement as "the aftermath of his very flawed parenting." This unavoidably gives both film and soundtrack an elegiac tone, with many of the album’s lyrics reflecting on the various burdens of mourning and memory.
As has long been their practice, the duo swap lead vocal duties back and forth and join together in casual harmonies, but given the project’s backdrop perhaps it is unsurprising that those songs sung primarily by Yang—"It’s Over", "The North Light"—are the most immediately striking. The critical quibbles that have followed Damon & Naomi throughout their career can still be applied: Their hushed voices remain pretty, but not dazzling, and their cozy music never strays much beyond the comfort zone that they firmly established a couple of decades ago. Especially when taken in conjunction with Yang’s film, however, Fortune packs a subtle yet undeniable emotive force whose impact can linger long after the projector has gone dark.
My favorite song would have to be “Sky Memories” but describing that one would be like describing them all. Just about every song shares the same production from a technical stand point, and being the songs are mostly the same tempo, that would make any other album sleep inducing, but in the grand scheme of things it makes Fortune sounds as if you are listening to Damon & Naomi in a candle lit, intimate live setting yet, not raw or live sounding. With all the songs sounding similar, by-numbers production, underwhelming song lengths, and over all short running time, it sounds as if I’m describing a boring, forgettable album, but Fortune defies those synonyms and gives the listener a beautiful, personal, listening experience. It might be glorified background music for an early morning road trip, but sometimes we need just that to remind us how beautiful the simple things in life can be.