Poseidon and the Bitter Bug
IG Recordings/Vanguard Records
The Indigo Girls sound like they are finally free from the strains of major labels. The two-disc Poseidon and the Bitter Bug is the first independent release for the duo in 22 years and it is the best since their self-titled album almost two decades ago.
The thing that has made the Indigo Girls so good for so long is the collaboration of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. Ray’s raspier voice and folk/punk leanings perfectly complement Saliers’ lighter tone. Each disc accentuates the best of both songwriters.
Each song tells an amazing story filled with vivid images including the opener, “Digging for Your Dreams,” that describes how “you take your prospects and your pick axe and you trudge down to the stream/ and you bloody your hands digging for your dreams.” On “Driver Education” Ray sings about how “I fell for guys who tried to commit suicide/ Now it’s tattooed girls with a past they can’t remember.”
The first disc is the full band version of these 10 gems with Ray’s edgier tracks, especially “Sugar Tongue” and “True Romantic,” highlighting the disc. The second disc is all acoustic with just the Girls and their guitars. The Saliers-penned tracks sound much better simply because her songwriting style is much more conducive to the acoustic side. The stripped-down versions of “I’ll Change” and “Digging for Your Dream” are the highlights on the second disc.
Saliers’ “Fleet of Hope” sounds like a Gordon Lightfoot remake, while Ray’s voice on “True Romantic” sounds eerily similar to Brandi Carlisle. This disparity is what has made the Indigo Girls last so long. They are the yin to each other’s yang. They are the Dr. Evil to each other’s Austin Powers. They know what each other is thinking. They each write several songs by themselves and then the other enhances those songs to make something that is already beautiful more magical.
Poseidon and the Bitter Bug is a triumph. The Indigo Girls are back to their independent roots and they sound like they are finally at home.
Indigo Girls: www.indigogirls.com