The secret of the Be Good Tanyas' sonic success is as much about what you don't find on their first two albums - 2001's "Blue Horse" and 2003's "Chinatown" - as what you do. The Vancouver trio (Samantha Parton, Trish Klein and Frazey Ford; they once featured antique chanteuse Jolie Holland) has an innate ability to inject an amazing amount of passion and power into the sparest arrangements, performing folk, blues and country originals and covers with equal amounts of expanse and care and reinforcing the illusion that much more is happening in the spaces the Tanyas leave than in the spaces they fill.
That same formula is on full display on the Tanyas' brilliant third album. Parton's tremulous voice is the perfect vehicle for the Tanyas' whisper thin arrangements, augmented by their authentic instrumentation and impeccable harmonies. The trio and their rotating cast of supporters mold ephemeral tunes like "Human Thing" and the title track into impossibly powerful forces, and translate the inherent strength of songs like Neil Young's "For the Turnstiles" and Prince's "When Doves Cry" (the album's hidden track) into completely authentic interpretations. And make sure you've got a box of tissues handy when the Tanyas uncork "Song for R.," their heartbreak-of-addiction ode.
The only thing more moving than the atmosphere the Be Good Tanyas wring out of every song they perform is the consistency they've maintained over three stellar albums.