The Brooklyn trio of Sasha Bell, Christopher Ziter and Jeff Baron have been playing together in various forms since 1997, most notably in the Ladybug Transistor. Their second CD as Essex Green is the perfect music for a morning when you have a mini-hangover and your new sweetheart is in the kitchen fixing you French toast. It's a hopeful mixture of bliss and subsiding pain.
The 12 songs on "The Long Goodbye" alternate female and male vocals, with the center tracks "Julia" and "Old Dominion" featuring both singers. Bell's voice is light on the airier tracks; Ziter's is grave with the rougher tunes. The result falls somewhere between the poppy '60s psychedelia of the Byrds and the happy melancholy of contemporary Scottish band Belle & Sebastian.
"The Long Goodbye" is sad without being gloomy, sweet with out being saccharine, and makes a great album for springtime -- especially after a long, hard winter.
"The Long Goodbye" is out now on Merge Records.