All Music Guide

Idaho Music

The first two songs on a record are often deceptive, frequently representing the whole less effectively than any other pair of selections further in the proceedings. Judging from the rumbling guitar intro of the opening "Wondering the Fields" and the strained seething of the following "20 Years," Idaho's sixth studio record sounds like it could be a return to the stormy full-band effort Three Sheets to the Wind. But it turns out to be a ruse, a trick played by Jeff Martin to cast the listener into a web of piano ballads and wispy instrumentals. Often basing the songs on his classically trained piano talents, his haggard voice, woozy and hazy tape effects, and gentle percussive shuffles, the majority of Levitate is actually Idaho at their least ornamented, with more open spaces than ever. Further proof that the busier opening songs are misleading is the personnel; Martin strips it down like the early Idaho records, only enlisting occasional drumming from Alex Kimmel, a hardcore Idaho fan who sent Martin a tape of his playing and was asked to contribute. Otherwise, everything heard is Martin in his full ragged glory. And in more than one sense, Levitate is the perfect title for an Idaho record; not only are the records carrying more atmosphere with each successive release, but Martin himself is hovering well above most of his hipper peers.

~ Andy Kellman, All Music Guide

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