Picks and Pans Review: All That We Let in

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Indigo Girls

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Like a perfectly worn pair of blue jeans, the Indigo Girls continue to make for a most comfortable fit on their ninth studio album. Singer-guitarists Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, who have made sweet harmony together since 1985, wisely don't attempt to fix something that isn't broken here. Instead the Atlanta duo, which splits songwriting duties (Saliers wrote six songs, Ray five), delivers more of the twangy, acoustic-based folk-rock that fans have come to expect. The CD kicks off with two deceptively upbeat numbers, the breezy "Fill It Up Again" and the ska-inflected "Heartache for Everyone." The latter is one of three tracks featuring background vocals by Joan Osborne, who also sang on the Indigos' 1999 disc Come On Now Social. The Indigos don't need any vocal assists, though, on quiet gems like the reflective title tune and the romantic "Free in You," which overcomes its Hallmark-card sentiments: "Love is just like breathing when it's true." Elsewhere, the Indigos think political on the bluegrassy "Perfect World" and the somber "Cordova," both of which were inspired by Ray's activism in the Native American community. They turn their concerns inward for the motivational "Rise Up," singing, "There's life in the old girl yet." Indeed there is plenty of life left in these Girls.

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