Jordan Lee's hopeful folk vehicle Mutual Benefit will be returning with a new album called Thunder Follows The Light on September 21st. It's his first since 2016's Skip A Sinking Stone and finds him seeing "massive societal strain on both people and the environment, and [beginning] to wonder if this is the lightning before some thunderous change. If we are living in that in-between time.”

The couplet of songs he has released today with the announcement certainly show the two sides of that introductory quote; on the one hand the concern with various issues in America in 'New History', and on the flip side we have an ode to nature's force in 'Storm Cellar Heart'.

'New History' is said to be the most classically folky on the album, and it bears all the genre's hallmarks, from acoustic guitar to harmonica to lyricism touching on the plight of the common person. In this song Lee is quietly fuming at the way politicians bend the truth, and is imagining a U-turn in the current direction of society, dreaming of a brighter future of equality for all.

Speaking to the inspirations behind 'New History', Lee says: “I think people in power benefit greatly from a general lack of historic memory in the US. I’ve been wondering if the first step to imagining a more just world is to study our history better, not just the linear revisionist one that is oft-repeated but all the unsung champions of equal rights as well as the acts of unthinkable cruelty that humans are also capable of."

The second preview of Thunder Follows The Light, 'Storm Cellar Heart', is a gorgeously wrought ode to the unshakable power of Mother Nature. A narrative full of appreciation of the small beauties of Earth's splendour, we can see and smell the flowers blooming through the rich woodwind beds. Even as the deafening storm moves in during the second half of the narrative, the song remains decidedly intimate and praiseful.

Lee: “Writing this provided a reminder that while moments of recharging are important, I didn’t want to get too entrenched in escapism instead of the messiness of living.”

Jordan Lee will be playing a rare solo show as Mutual Benefit this Thursday in London, to which there are still tickets. Thunder Follows The Light will be released by Transgressive on September 21st.