Ida Heart Like A River

Within music discussions, Ida and Low are usually mentioned together, and while it could be because of a shared love of crystalline harmonies, they also share another piece of trivia: they are a husband-wife duo paired with a single bassist. As those stern nuns used to teach, the by-product of a marriage is a child, and who are Ida to argue with tradition? Returning from their child-rearing induced absence, they indeed sound like a band reborn with their new songs showcasing a more straightforward, tighter feel that is reminiscent of the sublime "Blizzard of ‘78” off The Braille Night. Indeed, "599” features bursts of guitar, swearing and a charging tempo, and "Sundown,” although slower in tempo, includes prominent catharsis and looser instrumentation. Of course, for all those older Ida fans, "Laurel Blues” is probably one of the most beautiful songs they’ve ever recorded, with Elizabeth Mitchell’s voice being eminently swoon-able. The only downside is that even though things are poppier and zippier, Heart Like A River doesn’t gel together as well as it should. The harmonies are uniformly great, but tend to be overused, blurring the lines between the songs that has the unfortunate effect of making the album lag at times. Don’t be mistaken though, Ida have crafted a fine, stirring album featuring their strongest material to date, showing that their creative heart indeed is flowing as strong as the titular river. (Polyvinyl)