Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are back with their very own brand of Atlanta-based Hicksville country-rock to wow their ever-increasing fanbase. The good news is, after 10 years of working together as Indigo Girls, neither of them shows the slightest sign of faltering. The result is their most accomplished album to date.
As is often the case with Indigo Girls albums, they are double-faceted. On the one hand we have angry, rootsy folk-rock, the kind of thing that’d get Ani DiFranco stomping, from Amy Ray. On the other hand we have gentler, more reflective acoustic-laden moments from Emily Saliers. As the two rarely write songs together, this record – like so many of their past releases – reflects the fact that, while they might well both be campaigning lesbians, with guitars, from the same city, they are also two very different and unique people.
It also reflects a concerted effort to return to a more acoustic way of recording for the Girls. The guitar work is as intricate as we’d ever expect from them, but there is scarcely any hint of electric instruments throughout the record, emphasising the quality of the writing as much as the production.
The album starts in quiet style. Moment of Forgiveness is pure drive-time country fare, with a gentle meandering keyboard harmony supplementing a beat and general vibe that sounds for all the world like The Eagles.
But elsewhere, title track Become You is an instant upbeat favourite on the album, with effective use of accordian and wind instruments to add a little something to the familiar guitars and vocals of Amy and Emily. It also has some choice lines: “It took a long time to become the thing I am to you” being amongst them.
Other rougher gems are the veritable stampede that is Bitter Root, the barnstorming Yield and the eerie Starkville, while quieter tracks include the so-sweet-it-hurts Hope Alone and Saving Me. Closing track Nuevas Senoritas reminds one of the theme from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest with a half-cut beat and mournful slide guitar twiddling around the album’s most understated vocal duet. And it works a treat.
There’s something on Become You for Indigo Girls fans new and old to take to – and, with any luck, Amy and Emily will recruit some new fans with this quite lovely record.