Over ten years and six albums, Ida has come up from the wet ground of hush-core duo to an ensemble driven by three stellar songwriters, all crafting a tendersweet sound that is flowing and ornate. All of their records are unmistakable - they are marked by the distinct vocal triumvirate of Elizabeth Mitchell, Daniel Littleton and Karla Schickele.
Their music may tend to be "soft", but it is not shy, and that is evident on Heart Like a River. Taking cues from On the Beach-era Neil Young, the band dives from whisper strums to righteous drone or overdriven solo. They reference the early-mid seventies sound of rebel girls getting free: of Joni, of Rickie Lee - a little haunted, sparse, lush solitude, grown up, sad and tough.
Pushed the boundaries of minimally orchestrated song structures, placing each note where it needs to be, refraining from embellishment.
Comes with a Smile
Lovely music that sometimes does stately piano-based things and sometimes goes all strummy and folky, but always retains taste, originality and fine textures.
Front-couple Daniel Littleton and Elizabeth Mitchell have refined their slow-motion harmonies and guitar levitations with piquant melodies and textures, making music-like the maturing relationships their lyrics conjure-that's less about climax than about detailed foreplay.
Starry eyed and melancholic, this is an album of exceptional treasure.
Autumnally pretty tunes that are also full of quiet gravity...
As Heart Like a River unfolds, the true joy comes in soaking up the instrumental depth, the overwhelmingly beautiful details that come from a piano chord solemnly pressed and held like the player's fingers froze or the swells of the violin so thin and seamlessly threaded in that they exert all the pressure of an exhale.
Ten by Ten
The songs on Heart Like a River have a quiet strength, a passion that floats in between the lines.
There are musicians with longevity that are constantly evolving, making better music, and contributing to the community of artists with benefits for everyone. Ida is such a band and this is such a record.
1Laurel Blues (4:50)
3Late Blues (5:24)
5What Can I Do (2:57)
6The Details (4:38)
9Written On My Face (3:50)
10The Morning (7:30)