With very rare exceptions (Shaming of the Sun comes to mind), The Indigo Girls have consistently released good material since their first album twenty years ago. This album (the duo’s ninth) is no exception.
As soon as I heard the opening song “Fill it Up Again” I knew I was going to like this album. To me, it was a much needed return to their roots. With songs about heartbreak, love, and some political issues thrown in for good measure, the Indigo Girls aren’t breaking new ground here, and that’s the strength of this album. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Indigo Girls fans will find much here to be happy about.
The standout songs here are definitely “Free in You”, a beautiful expression of love (“Love is just like breathing when it’s true”), and “Tether”, a powerful political anthem(“Can we bring it together, can we call from the mountains to the valley below”). The album closes with the cheery and upbeat “Rise Up.”
In fact, the whole tenor of the album is very upbeat. With their beautiful two part harmonies and strong guitar work, the album is reminiscent of much earlier albums like Nomads, Indians, Saints.
This is a dualdisc, which means that one side of the album is the CD, and the other is a DVD. The DVD contains all the songs on the album in Dolby 5.1 surround sound, plus six live perfomances. The live performances are wonderful, with a mix of some songs from this album and some earlier material. One of the songs performed is “Galileo” (from Rites of Passage), a perennial favorite with Indigo Girls fans the world over.
Still, the album does suffer from one flaw: The over-produced “Heartache for Everyone”. Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are wonderful. But the song just seems too commercial. It’s a bitter reminder of songs like “Shame on You” from Shaming of the Sun, songs that have high production values and little resemblance to the Indigo Girls earlier work. I’m not saying they shouldn’t experiment. But songs that are overly mixed just don’t allow their true talent to shine through.
The other ten tracks are still worth buying this album for, however, and I highly recommend this album to Indigo Girls fans, or to those who like folksy pop with perfectly pitched harmonies and delicate guitar.