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A collaboration between singer-songwriter James Levy and his long-time friend Allison Pierce, one half of folk-pop sister act The Pierces, Pray To Be Free is a rich collection of lushly orchestral, country-tinted tracks about passion and betrayal.
Pierce’s crystalline bell of a voice sets off Levy’s rich growl with the converse perfection of cream poured over molasses, on a series of duets which nod smartly in the direction of 1960s Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.
Lead single Sneak Into My Room entreats adultery with film-score strings and a sweetly melodic chorus, while Positively East Broadway leans towards The Divine Comedy with its louche, brassy conclusion.
Nevertheless, one person’s timeless is another person’s tiresome - and a little of this relentlessly retro, melodramatic dolour goes a long way. Pray To Be Free is not without its charms, but is perhaps best left as a one-off venture.


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