Ida

Lovers Prayers
(Polyvinyl)

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In the past five or 10 years, indie rock's subgenres have been multiplying like bacteria. Dream pop, shoegaze, sadcore, slowcore . . . one has to be a scholar to keep them straight. Ida deserves a tag all its own — "minimalist folk" or "quietcore folk-rock." We can't comment on Ida's earlier efforts, but this NY band/married couple's seventh album is the first and, perhaps, last word in intense, low-volume, folk/blues-oriented listening. Ida's vocal harmonies seem just above a whisper, almost as if to urge the listener to lean forward and listen more intently. Their close boy/girl heartfelt harmonies evoke Richard and Linda Thompson, whose "For Shame of Doing Wrong" is covered here. The instrumentation (acoustic and occasional electric guitar, strings, piano, harmonium, and percussion) achieves chamber music ambiance. Their songs have a rural folk feel, except for occasional detours through the blues ("Worried Mind Blues"). Lovers Prayers is introspective and melancholic (almost overwhelmingly so), but it's adult introspection, the blues of people who've been 'round life's block a few times. Without ever over-emoting, Ida sings worldly tales with dignity and soul, and those attributes are damn hard to fake.

 
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