The Promise is Hope’s sophomore album was born after the duo experienced deep loss in their personal lives, transforming what could have been debilitating grief into an album that centers on loss, love, and faith.

After losing a total of four family members consecutively, Ashley and Eric L’Esperance, the duo behind The Promise is Hope, turned to music and songwriting for catharsis in a tough time. This led to the birth of their second album: Every Seed Must Die.

Each song on this body of work breathes strength and repose through vulnerability. Stripped down vocals—shifting between Eric’s raspy vocals to Ashley’s more classically inspired sound—support gently plucked acoustic guitar and stunning lyrics that establish the duo’s beautiful soul.


Traumatic events—especially losing loved ones—can leave the grieving isolated within their own worlds, unable to connect the way they once did. However, this does not happen with Eric and Ashley. The duo call out to each other in the album’s first song, “River,” with Eric asking his wife, “Can you hear me crying out / I’m aching and so alone.” Ashley responds with a soothing, meticulous singsong: “I have heard your cries, my love / I have never left your side, my love.” The compatibility of their vocals, mixed with the comforting repetition of “my love,” brings a unique tranquility to the song’s sound and to the listener’s mind.

As a collective, the album stays true to those soft, acoustic plucking patterns, only substituting guitar with the familiar piano, cello, and Mellotron—preserving a care to not frighten and demonstrating a hypersensitivity to soothe and console. The songs that follow all stay true to this mantra. The album’s namesake, “Every Seed Must Die,” consists of Eric and Ashley taking turns understanding the inescapability of death, and coming to peace with its purpose and necessity. They sing kindly, with an upbeat acoustic guitar of how “Every seed must die / For new life to grow.”

The album touches quite heavily (though in a gentle way) on religion, and a solace that Eric and Ashley have gained through faith. While certain songs—“Always I” and “Mary-Ann”—quite explicitly mention religion, most songs seem to have a more omnipresent figure looming over them. This theme is capitalized on in the last song, “Lullaby,” which seems to be written as if done so by God, promising protection over Eric and Ashley. It is a moment of complete vulnerability; it is representative of a time typically spent alone in a darkened bedroom, proving that Eric and Ashley have given ever fiber, bone, and defenseless moment into this record.

Every Seed Must Die may sometimes seem to be too personal, as if you are peeking into two people’s most transparent, powerless, struggling moments, and that is because you are. Eric and Ashley have allowed you to, asked you to, and welcomed you openly. What The Promise is Hope has done is erase the barrier between songwriter and listener. The duo emits intimacy, yet they somehow manage to spread that same intimacy to each anonymous listener.

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