'Poseidon and the Bitter Bug' Acoustic
Ray and Saliers have, through the years, become incredibly adept at the range of sounds and emotions that can be communicated on wooden instruments, and it's impressive to hear how loud and rocking they can turn these songs on their own without electronics ("Ghost of the Gang" | purchase/download), before dropping back to a softer, more earnest near-whisper ("I'll Change" | purchase/download).
'Poseidon and the Bitter Bug' Electric
What's impressive about the Indigo Girls is that, when they add a full band and extra instrumentation, they do so tactfully without sacrificing any of the emotion or intent of the acoustic song. And yet, the full band disc leaves me wondering if it's necessary to add all those instruments when they don't really change the song that much. Given the option, I find myself gravitating toward the acoustic album simply because the full band disc isn't different enough to give me anything I can't find on the acoustic album. Luckily, the songs on Poseidon and the Bitter Bug are so good that there's nothing about which to be truly disappointed.
So Does It Work?
Clearly there will be a number of hard-core Indigo Girls fans who will love both the electric and acoustic versions, but most folks will gravitate toward one or the other. It's fun to hear the experimentation on tunes like "Driver Education," which Ray resurrected from her solo career to re-present here in two new ways (acoustic | electric). The good news is, whether fans gravitate to the acoustic version or the full band version, they will have an excellent collection of songs to uncover.