Gently floating, half-asleep, somewhere between Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See, the Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand is this album, not coincidentally the product of a duo: Melissa DeOrazio’s languid voice hovering against a spare backdrop of husband Matthew’s guitar arabesques, lots of echo, and an acoustic anchor. It’s the work of two gloomy but only somewhat jaded romantics taking a very slow, very deliberate honeymoon.
As you also might expect, there’s a brace of covers backing up the originals, and they’re all similarly bleak: Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat,” an eloquent “St. James Infirmary,” Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil.” (Even their version of Gershwin’s “Summertime” seems stranded in the desert at dusk.) The closest they get to anything upbeat, literally or figuratively, are the trilogy of songs that close out Spark, but between his slide and six-string excursions, which are jazzier than most country pickers’, and her unique vocal take on the genre (imagine Stevie Nicks as Natalie Merchant), the atmosphere is plenty intoxicating at any speed. Going on that third date with someone who claims they don’t believe in love anymore? Here’s your mood music.