Sound of the Blue Heart

Wind of Change

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Johnny Indovina's second album under the Sound of the Blue Heart name pretty easily follows on from the first -- once again the former hypergoth extremity has been set aside for calmer arrangements and performances and a statelier air all around. It's admittedly all part of a larger continuum -- "The Spell," the opening track, is one of his strongest ever, with a killer chorus and a string-swept air, but differs in feeling and intensity only by degree from Human Drama's own passionate highlights. Indovina and associates' take on this set of songs almost suggests one of his earliest lodestones more than most, Willy DeVille, if less in actual sound than in calm, slyly funky considerations of the heart at work. The easy slide and groove of "The Poisoning" and "Violet's Wish" and the hushed, understated beauty of "Never" help bring Indovina's current approach into full focus, the latter being one of his best outsider-perspective efforts over a long career of them. At other points it's all down to a perfect instrumental touch, like the sweet but tense guitar part opening the title track. Meanwhile, one tradition remains intact via the inclusion of a cover song -- though in a slight surprise the choice is one that's been covered numerous times before, Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." It's pleasant enough, but a bit too overfamiliar to be a strong album ender.

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