"Down on your back/ All of your secrets collide," Ida's Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton sing in a near whisper on the album's first track, "Down on Your Back" (RealAudio excerpt), in which they paint a dark portrait of a recluse. "You rise and shine/ Lost in your world/ Just killing time/ Nobody knows."
With the song's subtly picked acoustic guitar and quiet melodica, it's a perfect example of music fitting the lyrics like a glove a classy form-fitting lace one at that.
It's also a nice way to begin an album that serves as a healthy antidote to the kiddie-rockin' bombast of today's pop music scene. Will You Find Me is a work of calm beauty that at times recalls Simon & Garfunkel at their most melancholy, or slow-core bands such as Low at their down-and-out best. As pretty ditties such as "Shrug," "Encantada" and the country-ish "Triptych" demonstrate, hushed male-female harmonies are this New York folk-pop band's secret weapon, kicking down the doors of nonbelievers and climbing the stairway to a cotton-candy-colored musical heaven.
Other songs here underscore the fact that Littleton and Mitchell are fine songwriters, too. (Mitchell, it should be noted, was once in an acoustic duo with fellow Brown University alumna Lisa Loeb; Loeb and Littleton both appear on Loeb's hit, "Stay.") A good example is "Maybelle" (RealAudio excerpt), where they craft two competing melodies one vocal, one instrumental that are lovely enough on their own, but together are drop-dead gorgeous. "Look at me/ Am I still the one you wanted me to be?" sing the husband-wife duo. "When we were talking did I hear you say/ That you still loved me?"
Suffice it to say that on the evidence heard on this, their fourth full-length album, you can add these two to the short list of married musical couples (Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan) who have turned domestic bliss and angst into great art.
Listening to Ida's songs is almost like musical voyeurism, even when you know they're just stories and not necessarily conversations that have accidentally escaped the proverbial bedroom. Then again, "You Turn Me On" (RealAudio excerpt) does comes off like aural sex, especially when they simultaneously sing lines such as "Stripped as you are/ You come to me," "Stay beside me/ Stay inside me" and "You're the velvet in my mouth/ You I cannot be without." It's painfully honest and explicit, kind of like an indie-rock Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson sex tape.
Will You Find Me is a recording for any of us who have ever felt Low, been strung out on Codeine, or woken up with Bedhead after having spent a night dreaming of a Galaxie 500 miles away. Ida are their own unique constellation, a celestial body that stand out from the billions of other stars vying for our attention.