By David Kenney

As half of the folk-rock duo The Indigo Girls, Amy Ray has always seemed the tense, more political member. Past Indigo Girls songs by Ray like "Touch Me Fall" and "Pushing the Needle Too Far" were seriously focussed to the point of being emotionally detached. Her solo debut, Stag, is coated in these emotional scrapes that sting with every listen.

Like the past two Indigo Girls albums, Ray’s solo effort is a gloomy glimpse into the heart. Her strict and deep vocals illuminate the rants of "Lucystoners" and "Black Heart Today" and gives yearning a voice. Pseudo-punk, folk and straight-ahead rock make Stag the party you didn’t expect, but won’t soon forget.

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