* * * Ivy, "Long Distance," Nett-werk America. Subtlety begets ... more subtlety. Absent are the churning guitars that punctuated the vigorous moments of 1997's "Apartment Life." They're replaced by languid electronic effects, horns and strings that give the trio's luxuriant melodies a cinematic feel. Rather than counterposing the French-accented vocals of Dominique Durand, the arrangements by bandmates and producers Andy Chase and Adam Schlesinger frame them. The results seem to aspire to a Portishead distinction; even if they settle for low-volume Garbage at a quiet Parisian cafe, they sure are pretty.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.