Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I is also for Ida

I received this album at the end of last week and really didn't give it a listen until after the weekend. Had I taken the time to listen to Lovers Prayers, the latest release from Ida, I wouldn't have had to cheat on my alphabetical entries with Candie Payne (not that I'm regretting sharing that one, mind you).

This is the seventh full-length release in fourteen years from this New York City band, but this time round the quintet left the urban environment behind to visit Levon Helm's home studio in the Catskill Mountains. The result is a gentle, hushed album that you want to cradle in your hands like a baby chick. When Daniel Littleton sings "shut the lights out/when it's cold inside my room" on "The Weight of the Straw" you can hear the cold snap of the snare drum and picture the fog of his breath.

Perhaps the best thing about Lovers Prayers is the fact that vocals are shared by three-fifths of the group. Littleton may lead at times but on songs like "The Love Below" his contribution instead supports Elizabeth Mitchell's gorgeous voice and album highlight "Willow Tree" is a duet in the truest sense of the word (though it becomes a trio of sorts when pianist Karla Schickele joins in on harmonies). "Willow Tree"'s lyrical imagery of coaxing a lover like a bird from the trees and desire burning like tires combines the beguiling rhythms of nature with the hidden beauty of the mundane. Moments like this are recurrent on Ida's album - a fact for which I'm saying my own thankful prayers.

Ida's official website is down but you can visit:
Their Myspace page
Their label, Polyvinyl

Here's the title track, thanks to Polyvinyl.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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