IDA: Lovers Prayers [Polyvinyl]

The combustible Archers Of Loaf begat the bucolic Crooked Fingers, so it’s not entirely shocking that Daniel Littleton came of age in a short-lived ’80s punk outfit called, of all things, the Hated. The seventh proper album from his New York City band—which also features singer/guitarist Elizabeth Mitchell and bassist Karla Schickele—certainly makes it tough to imagine Littleton as the object of anyone’s scorn. Bordering on preciously affectionate, the uniformly gorgeous Lovers has one gear, which is stuck on “fawn.” Measured female vocals are gently caressed by a doubled-up bass line on His Name Is Alive nod “The Love Below,” while the opening title track starts with an emasculated Hold Steady piano line and ends with attractive harmonies spooning in a Laurel Canyon afterglow. HNIA’s Warn Defever lent his mixing talents to the LP, and a clutch of likeminded players make contributions, including experimental folkie Tara Jane ONeil, classical cellist Jane Scarpantoni and avant-garde guitarist Matt Sutton. But aside from of a handful of minor mood-diverting highlights, Lovers Prayers belongs to Littleton, Mitchell and Schickele, rarely straying from their preset trail of pastoral, storybook pillow talk. []

—Noah Bonaparte Pais