The Indigo Girls bring more than 20 years of collaboration to Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, where they revisit longstanding themes -- human rights, relationships and Southern life -- with a seasoned articulation of lyrics, melodies and harmonies. Poseidon and the Bitter Bug offers lifer fans a philosophical update from Amy and Emily and -- in the bonus set -- an acoustic version of the album, a welcome return to their stripped-down beginnings.
Of a kind with the Indigo Girls’ Despite Our Differences (2006) and All That We Let In (2004), the songs of Poseidon and the Bitter Bug tie the realities of today’s world, its joys and injustices, to historical events and personal experience. In “Love of Our Lives,” the album’s first single, the duo addresses gay marriage -- “We’ve been wanting to be helped by binding ties, we’ve been fighting for the love of our lives.” In “Sugar Tongue,” they return to messages about colonialism’s destructive legacy, like those of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” “Shame on You,” and “Nuevas Senoritas.” The dulcet tones and poignant verses of “Fleet of Hope” recall other Indigo Girls’ classics -- “Galileo,” for example.
Poseidon plays with coherence -- more like a dense novel than a collection of short stories. It is an album that promises that the Indigo Girls’ sage reflections will evolve as their audience does; more than one track addresses the challenges of mid-life: owing old friends apologies, accepting with grace that your true love doesn’t last and witnessing friends give it to God and slip from the living. In response to life’s challenges, they sing of the fleet of hope and the power of promises. The Indigo Girls prove themselves, again, to be artists whose metaphoric turns of phrases evoke a hard-up world and invoke a more meaningful existence.