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Pray to Be Free (Deluxe Edition)

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It’s a stroke of luck for James Levy and Allison Pierce (of the heavenly American sister duo The Pierces) that Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman came along to make this project happen, shortly after he discovered The Pierces. It's lucky for us as well; it’s an astoundingly beautiful, fresh collection of dark love ballads that ache and sway and swoon. Pray to Be Free feels like a 50-year-old collection of unknown Lee Hazelwood-Nancy Sinatra numbers stored in an attic music box, dusted off and given breath by, say, Nick Cave and The Head & The Heart. Songs that should be murder ballads instead pull at heartstrings like a desperate soul; lyrics like “I want to kiss you/But must refrain/I’ve already got someone to run to” (from “Sneak Into My Room”) are palpable with unfinished business and desire left smoldering. It's all wrapped in the leathery baritone of Levy and the naïve sweetness of Pierce. Their harmonic chemistry is as intoxicating as the Hazelwood-Sinatra pairing, or Gainsbourg and Bardot. There are strings, ‘70s-style pop horns, melodic hooks, booming toms, even a soul-rattling piano that feels, somehow, carnal.

Pray to Be Free (Deluxe Edition), James Levy
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