Indigo Girls: Become You

Indigo Girls: Become You

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Indigo Girls

Album: Become You
Label: Epic

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Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have always pulled Indigo Girls in two separate directions, with the former's raspy stridency competing for time and tone with the latter's syrupy-sweet melancholy. In recent years, the separation has grown more pronounced, as Ray has devoted a substantial chunk of her time to running the esoteric Daemon Records label and releasing Stag, her bruising, punk-informed solo debut. So it's surprising that Become You, the duo's eighth studio album, turns out to be its most uniform and accessible work in ages. The disc still falls back on the formula of altering Saliers' vulnerable ballads with Ray's less precious excursions, but both are significantly muted and more complementary than usual, combining to nice effect on Become You's briskly catchy title track. The concessions to consistency tend to tilt in Saliers' favor, as the disc is dominated by gentle laments like "Hope Alone," "She's Saving Me," and the earnest antiwar song "Our Deliverance." As a result, Become You tends to err on the side of blandness, lacking a knockout single or any newsworthy experimentation. But it's also Indigo Girls' first album in ages to pass by without a head-slapping clunker or didactic, finger-wagging screed to weigh it down. In the end, Become You pulls off a seemingly contradictory feat, narrowing the duo's sound in a way that's bound to appease the largest possible crowd. Considering Indigo Girls' ambitious but wildly uneven recent output, that adherence to the middle of the road seems almost like a bold move.

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