Alright. Straight up. I absolutely loved The Indigo Girls eponymously titled second disc (1989), which had everyone hooked on the great single "Closer To Fine". From that point on, The Indigo Girls were a force to be reckoned with. But then, album by album, I lost faith in the girls. It seems, no matter how or what they tried, they moved further and further away form what made them great in the first place...each new release being less tantalizing than the last.
Recently, I happened to spy a couple of copies of their latest work, 'All That We Let In', in the SACD section of a local mega-store. Now, believe me, I was no where near ready to buy it, but I did check out the back cover info. There I read "Multichannel mix by Bob Clearmountain" and "Produced by Bob Ludwig". Knowing both legendary gentlemen's history in the music business, I was sold on the spot. I grabbed it. And, man, oh man, was I extremely pleasantly surprised. Turns out I found another little unexpected nugget of gold!
The first thing I wanna say is that this is arguably The Indigo Girls' best disc since the aforementioned 1989 release. The second is that the surround mix is so closely mic'ed, so dry, so in-your-face that I was immediately very impressed. Clean, dry and crystal clear, with a snap to the transients that is in-the-room palpable. This Hybrid SACD demonstrates an almost perfect use of hi-res surround sound. Use of all speakers is not at all shyed away from. There's something coming from every speaker...perfectly placed within the mix...almost all of the time. And this, coupled with the acoustic folk-rock songs herein, makes this a demo-quality SACD surround disc. The sound, the use of surround, the mix - it's all just about perfect. If this SACD surround mix doesn't impress you, you just weren't made for great sound. Sparkling acoustic guitars, shimmering piano, in-your-face drums, organ, and the beautifully intertwining voices of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray are all as wide open as the sky, yet as close and familiar as if in your listening room.
On 'All That We Let In", the girls stretch out, back to their past, and return to what they do best. Cut one, "Fill It Up Again", is a perfect example of what you can expect form the rest of the disc. The Indigo Girls have never sounded this naturally wonderful - two part harmonies doing rondos and echoes and intertwining and playing off of each other - and it all sounds absolutely marvelous!
Definitely seek this one out. If you're a fan, you'll be in heaven. If you've given up on them, or are a newbie, 'All That We Let In' will reveal an unexpected beauty that should excite. This is, beyond a doubt, a demo-quality disc that finds The Indigo Girls writing, singing, playing and arranging better than ever before. The Indigo girls are back with a monster of a disc - a disc far too good to be ignored. Very highly recommended!