Activist folk duo the Indigo Girls are back with the ninth
studio album of their lengthy career. All That We Let In
shows why Amy Ray and Emily Sailers have stayed together for so
long: their complementary voices. Throughout the record, the Girls
harmonize like nobody’s business, effortlessly weaving
complex and satisfying vocal tapestries.
They keep the instrumentation relatively simple, sticking mostly
to resonant acoustics on spirited folk tunes like “Fill It Up
Again” as well as somber ballads like “Cordova.”
The volume increases occasionally though, especially on the epic
“Tether,” which employs keyboards and distorted
Songwriting duties are split evenly; Sailers’s stuff is
unashamedly folky, while Ray’s songs are a bit darker and
edgier. After many years, the Girls have learned to make their
songs work together as cohesive albums, and such is the case here.
While a couple of tracks falter (including “Heartache for
Everyone,” which features an awkward ska beat), most of them
succeed, like the sing-along single “Perfect
Lyrically, All That We Let In shifts between bittersweet
personal outpourings like “Dairy Queen” and angry yet
optimistic political rants, such as the aforementioned
“Tether.” Their writing rings true, even if the emoting
can be corny and their politics are sometimes self-righteous.
All That We Let In breaks little new ground, but
that’s probably the worst criticism one can make of it. The
record probably won’t win them many new fans (especially
males), but that’s hardly the point. Longtime followers will
enjoy its consistently catchy numbers and vibrant performances. The
Indigo Girls have found a comfortable niche for themselves that
they won’t be letting go of anytime soon.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars