Seattle has been synonymous with alternative rock since the late '80s and early '90s; it was Seattle and nearby areas in Washington State that gave us Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tad, the Melvins, Green River, Alice in Chains, Hole, Mudhoney, the Foo Fighters, Screaming Trees, and Mother Love Bone, among many others. But being Seattle-based and being part of alternative rock doesn't necessarily mean being a part of grunge; Two Loons for Tea have been part of the Seattle scene since the '90s, and their adult alternative pop/rock is far from grunge. Instead, this duo has much more in common with the Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack, Portishead, and early Lush than it does with Pearl Jam or the Foo Fighters; instead of getting inspiration from metal, hard rock, or hardcore, Two Loons for Tea have been incorporating elements of jazz, cabaret, ambient electronica, soul and world music. That approach worked well for lead singer Sarah Scott and guitarist/keyboardist/background singer Jonathan Kochmer (the Seattle residents who comprise Two Loons for Tea) in the early to mid-2000s, and it continues to work well for them on 2007's Nine Lucid Dreams. As usual, Scott and Kochmer are joined by a long list of guest musicians; no less than 14 different players join them on this 47-minute CD, although not simultaneously. The personnel on Nine Lucid Dreams varies from track to track, but regardless of who is or isn't joining them on a particular song, there is never any doubt that Scott and Kochmer are the ones in command -- and Scott's lead vocals are very much the focal point on appealing, dusky items such as "Eyebrows Are Nature's Makeup," "Monkey," "Toxic Shellfish in the Sun," and the Latin-tinged "Consuela." Creatively, Two Loons for Tea don't lose anything at all on Nine Lucid Dreams.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson