On Lung of Love, Amy Ray's fourth studio solo album, she explores her rock and Americana roots far more deeply than she did on Indigo Girls' 2011 album Beauty Queen Sister. While she's no hard rocker, Ray's always been the edgier half of the duo musically. This set, despite the uptempo pace of many of the tunes, is more often than not a particularly wrenching set of love songs that trace everything from brokenness to acceptance to the resolution to transcend. Ray's tunes here are tight and declamatory. Memory is the method she chooses to move her narratives along, beginning with the Americana-tinged opener "When You're Gone, You're Gone," a song that addresses a former lover whose wedding she's attending. The traces of longing -- underscored to the point of poignancy by Greg Griffith's lap steel and Melissa York's shuffling drums -- regret, and remembrance lead the protagonist to the conclusion in the title. Sad as it is, with a backing vocal chorus by Brandi Carlile and My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames, it sounds like anything but. "Glow" is a short, charging, hooky rocker that expresses no regrets about living fast, no matter the cost. "I Didn't" is a waltz, and one of the most searing numbers on the set; a tale of two lovers whose obstacles leave them at the point of separation. Ray's protagonist has been militant in her resolve to claim responsibility for her side of the street in the messiness of this love -- but no more. Julie Wolf's Wurlitzer is particularly effective at moving the story along as Ray sings above her. Another standout is "Cryin' in the Wilderness," with its trio of crunchy electric guitars and the odd but gratifying banjo strolling along to Ray's questioning lyric. The title track is a rootsy rocker that touches on everything from Phil Spector to the Del-Lords in its approach; it recounts the emotional state of new love with anticipation and daring. Ultimately, Lung of Love is a strong album. Though there are a few missteps -- the confusing "Haiti" and the downright corny "The Rock Is My Foundation," a spiritual song that attempts to wed old-time mountain music to modern alt-country -- the document's strengths supersede them in a powerful and inviting way.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek