Edie Brickell and The Heavy Circles

Ms. New Bohemian and her stepson get sparse but evocative

Shortly after making a comeback album with the New Bohemians (2006's Stranger Things), Edie Brickell re-emerges by teaming with stepson Harper Simon for a collection of new songs that have a stronger musical connection with her solo material than with her old band. Excluding her multilayered vocals, The Heavy Circles is a sparse affair, with just a few instances of violins or horns infiltrating the basic setting of guitar, bass, drum, and keys. But guests like Sean Lennon, Miho Hatori, Yuka Honda, and Martha Wainwright also stop by and lend a more relaxed, laid-back attitude to tunes like the guitar-centric "Henri," with its very cryptic lyrics that speak of Egyptian curtains and dancing around in a circle. "Wait and Wait" has a strong psychedelic influence thanks to Simon's guitar and a string arrangement that harks back to the late '60s. Brickell herself sounds incredibly comfortable on "Need a Friend," a bona fide reggae track with rocksteady horns and guitar, while "Dynamite Child" has a refreshing punk-rock feel. With Heavy Circles, Brickell and Simon seem to have found an ideal songwriting partnership where their own musical personalities don't seem to clash, but don't put themselves to sleep, either.

 
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