All That We Let In
The Indigo Girls are still rockin’ the same old “stacking sandbags gainst the river of your trouble” lyrics and soul-warming harmonies on All That We Let In, the new record that’s got even better album art than Swamp Ophelia. For the most part, this album is exactly what you’d expect from the Indigo Girls; Amy Ray and Emily Saliers pass the baton back and forth like pros, belting it out or backing each other up like true friends. That’s not to say that you won’t feel a little sickly when Saliers sings about knowing that “the answer’s always in the question.” But if you’re listening at all, you’ve probably accepted the Indigo Girls for the sappy duo they are.
However, this record does present some serious obstacles to an enjoyable listening experience for even the best-seasoned I-Girls fan. The most annoying track, “Heartache For Everyone,” sounds like some sort of middle-aged nod to Reel Big Fish. And adding to their admittedly pretty voices and strummin’ guitars, there is more varied instrumentation on this album—but all the pianos, accordions, vibraphones, ocarinas, etcetera crowd the mix and obscure the main vibe the Girls had going for them. Plus, they’re no longer the two strong women on stage with the winds of wisdom blowing through their hair; now they’ve got some cheesy dude named Brady Blade tooting on the penny whistle in the background.
There’s more than enough on All That We Let In to satisfy a fan, a few songs to skip and some excellent fodder for anyone who likes to make Indigo Girls jokes.
—Lucy F. Lindsey
After We Go
Grunge-hangover band Tantric’s second album After We Go gives brooding discontent the perfect sheen of corporate rock. Ironic, given that their record company sent them back to the studio for a second and third shot at the album.
Tantric are the opposite of the sort of rock n roll anarchy purveyed by The Darkness. Replete with acoustic guitars, wooden basslines and earnest guitar solos, the music sounds as heavily produced as Britney. This is not an entirely bad thing—the music is smooth and even, exerting a vaguely soporific effect. This is the sort of music angry teenagers listen to in order to piss off the parents while catching a nap. The requisite heaviness, showcased on the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” is offset throughout by acoustic sections, but the juxtaposition struggles not to sound contrived, each acoustic passage luring the listener in for the predictable punch of distorted guitars.
There are some tickling riffs. The lead single “Hey Now” opens with a single guitar tracing reverberating curlicues around singer Hugo Ferreira’s self-important basso declarations of incomprehension of a friend’s anti-social behavior. Tantric specialize in classic rock vocal harmonies, which they execute with aplomb, if not personality, and After We Go delivers these in spades. Tantric try for ominous, but end up sounding only sulky.
—Andrew R. Iliff
Magic and Medicine
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