Ida - Lovers Prayers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Lovers Prayers (2008)


Apparently I've missed the boat. Lovers Prayers is Ida's seventh full-length release. That means I've got six albums worth of diggin' to do. Oh well, let's keep our focus, because this is one of those albums you don't want to zone out during.

Re-locating to the Catskill Mountains, Ida recorded this album in Levon Helm's home studio. Levon Helm is from the Band. That's Serious Business. And the move has affected their music. Apparently. Look, I really can't tell you whether Ida is "known for their quiet take on urban life" or not. But what I can tell you is that Lovers Prayers is one of those albums that conjures up warm feelings, like fireplaces, bearskin rugs, hot cocoa, and fried potatoes for breakfast. The songs are soft, simple, and melodic. Based on simple chord progressions and smooth male/female vocal harmonies, the album pushes through an hour's worth of minimalist roots-tinged indie rock with ease and aplomb.

Most songs revolve around one prolonged chord, presenting dynamic change when the progression moves along. Using their voices as instruments, Ida gives depth to their songs. From the upbeat opener "Lovers Prayers" to the bluesy "Worried Mind Blues," Ida has already run through tinges of folk, abstract indie rock, and blues.

Recorded with a "spontaneous approach that included live tracking with few overdubs" has given the record an organic feel. Never overladen with too many instruments, the song forms and melodies shift, meld, and mutate as the album progresses. The country-tinged "First Light" recalls the roots rock that funded the studio they recorded in while "The Killers 1964" is a soft picked acoustic song with a steady tempo.

Perhaps the album falters a bit due to their songwriting approach for Lovers Prayers. "For Shame of Wrong Doing" doesn't captivate like previous tracks, and the ukulele intro of clsoer "Blue Clouds" feels slightly out of place. No album is without its faults.

In the end, Ida have produced something stunning that caught me off guard. No grandiose string arrangements could ever tug at the heartstrings like a soft, minimalist approach can. You can almost feel the love coming out of your speakers.