Listen to albums by Low, or Red House Painters, or Rex, or Ida, and you'll agree that the quietest bands are often the ones that make the most emotionally resonant records. Why moan and groan and bleat to the heavens, when a subtle pull on a violin bow or a cleanly struck note on a guitar can say much more? Ida knows this, and its new third album Ten Small Paces reflects that philosophy effectively. Bookended with gently beautiful ballads—it opens with the instrumental "Hilot" and the gorgeously melodic "Les Etoiles Secretes," and closes with the melancholy "Capo"—the record benefits from subtle instrumentation, including occasional (and effective) violin work. It helps that all four members (two boys, two girls) sing, and sing well. As Ten Small Paces progresses, it modifies its tone somewhat, with mixed results: "The Weight" is excellent, but "Fallen Arrow" sounds sort of like Indigo Girls, and the overlong cover of Brian Eno's "Golden Hours" is surprisingly cloying; the album's diverse handful of covers (by Eno, Neil Young, Secret Stars and Bill Monroe) doesn't always do justice to the source material. Still, the record's subtle grace transcends even its most flawed moments.

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