Most of Roth's albums contain some vocals, but they seldom pull in front of the percussive textures. Tongues brings the voice and melodic lines to the footlights. "Psalm" sets the voices as a gospel choir, with the soprano sax (Cornelius Bumpus) crying as soloist. "Suma" has a saucy, virile South American bounce (one of Roth's most lyrical pieces); featured is Cyro Baptista on vocals and percussion. "Silver Desert Cafe" is a colorful piece, slightly intoxicated, with the flavor of an Egyptian "cantina." On "Chatter," Robert Ansell plays the tone box while a variety of sharp-toned percussion instruments compete in spitfire rapidity; the vocals here are harmonic drones (Carter Burwell) and asides from turntable master DJ Chill Freez. Like some Cuban space rock opera, the title cut funks and grooves with a real stand made by the women. "Rest Your Tears Here" has a heavy Louisiana blues feeling; Monty leads the hypnotic song/poem, while the women's voices follow like echoes down empty city streets. "Ram" is composed by Jai Uttal, is an Indian-flavored chant honoring the ancient god; Allison Cornell's violin and viola are dynamic, yet mournful. The suspenseful "Stillpoint" features the zenlike bamboo flute of Steve Gorn. Music director Gabrielle Roth (listen for her as the Spirit on "Ram") sets a new direction with this colorful album, with many gems by the contributing artists.
AllMusic Review by Carol Wright