Iron and Wine & Ben Bridwell

Sing Into My Mouth (Black Cricket/Brown Records)

Phases & Stages

Folk inheritors Sam Beam and Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell team up for an eclectic set of covers that falls flat on its face. From the outset on Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place," the pair sucks the life and adventure from 12 reworkings. Whereas Iron & Wine's past lo-fi covers revealed new depths (à la "Waitin' for a Superman" or "Love Vigilantes"), sparse renditions here add zero insight even when they charm in deep-cut exhumation like David Gilmour's "There's No Way out of Here." Sade's "Bullet Proof Soul" gets a haunting twist of Americana, and Bridwell stripped of reverb on Ronnie Lane's "Done This One Before" compels earnestly. Yet J.J. Cale's "Magnolia," Spiritualized's "The Straight and Narrow," and Bonnie Raitt's "Anyday Woman" are done disservice. A polished picking session (with Calexico backing) better suited to the living room than studio.

**

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