Picks and Pans Review: Strange Fire
Following the success of their eponymous hit album last year, Indigo Girls have elected to reissue a 1987 recording they had put out regionally on their own label. The world could probably do quite nicely without Strange Fire, but the Georgia duo's fans may find it of interest from an archaeological point of view.
Essentially it finds Emily Saliers and Amy Ray working in a more conventional folk style, albeit with an off-putting stentorian delivery. There are a number of songs, such as the clunky "I Don't Wanna Know," that will make you wonder how the ladies ever made it off the coffeehouse circuit. But a few songs, written and sung by Saliers, hint at the arresting pathos that some of their subsequent compositions have contained. One thing that hasn't changed is the often opaque, if poetic, quality of their lyrics: "When it comes to flesh and bones/You remind me of shallot/Only made of shadows/Even though you're not." Melodically, however, the album suggests that the Indigo Girls have done a lot of growing up in a short time. (Epic)