Album: James Levy & the Blood Red Rose, Pray to Be Free (Heavenly)

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The Independent Culture

PTBF is an attempt by the Brooklyn singer-songwriter James Levy and one half of the Pierces (Alison) to create an orchestral pop-duet album in the spirit of Lee and Nancy. It is a near-total triumph: Levy's smooth baritone and Pierce's breathy vocals wrapping themselves around songs of love and loss (mainly loss).

Throw in a knowingness that takes it above pastiche, and it's almost enough to make you forgive producer Guy Berryman's day job as the bassist in Coldplay.