The Indigo Girls are folk-rock at its finest. The Grammy-winning duo whose career has spanned two decades, twelve releases and more than 12 million album sales, are releasing this, their debut album with Hollywood Records, this September. The album was produced by Mitchell Froom and is their first to be recorded in California. What is NOT new is their fanatic following or the magic way Emily and Amy's vocals and guitar playing weave together. Renowned for their crackerjack live show, the Indigo Girls have shown a staying power that has led their career to outstrip those of many of their Lillith Fair peers.
The Indigo Girls, now marking their 20th anniversary, were in a bit of slump before turning to producer Mitchell Froom, who serves them well on this energized effort--their 10th studio album and first for a new label. Recorded at Froom's home studio in Santa Monica, California, the album finds Ray, Saliers & Co. trying a few new things--recording with everybody in the same room, for example, and stepping further out of their acoustic framework for an enhanced sonic landscape, e.g., the Beatlesque "Little Perennials." They also invited impressive newbie Brandi Carlisle to harmonize on "Last Tears," one of the disc's most memorable tracks, and called on Pink (the IGs appeared on I'm Not Dead
) for "Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate." All this contributes to a fresher sound and attitude, but the songwriting (Amy's rock leanings, Emily's moody balladry) is up a notch, too, with the social activism ("Pendulum Swinger") better expressed and more sophisticated than their usual banner-waving. What hasn't
changed is the way the duo's vocal lines entwine like tangled lovers--at their best, it's hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins, their corduroy-and-denim harmonies becoming a sort of third tone. That's a neat trick for voices as diverse and distinctive as these, still commanding as they enter their third decade. --Alanna Nash