Like many of music history’s most profound, speed and volume are not The Horse’s Ha’s strong suit  This August saw the release of the Chicago outfit’s second album in a decade of playing together.  The Horse’s Ha are a super[duo] of sorts, comprised of Janet Bean (Freakwater, Eleventh Dream Day) and James Elkington, who has played with the likes of Jon Langford, Doug McCombs (Tortoise), and Laetitia Sadier.  For their debut album, 2009’s Of the Cathmawr, the duo would seem to explore their musical boundaries, infusing their background’s in English folk and alt country with numerous jazz elements.  However, for their sophomore effort, Waterdrawn, they seem to have stripped back down to their roots, producing an album of minimalistic folk (both in the English and American traditions).  The songs are somewhat traditional tales of aliens imagining escape, but they are, for the most part, quite charming in the underplayed quirk of their delivery.  Whimsy oozes out of the album’s 11 tracks, but their most impressive numbers are those when Bean and Elkington seem to be at their most playful.  Opening track, “Conjured Caravan” has twee undertones, reminding of the beauty of Belle & Sebastian, circa 2001, at their folkiest and “A Stoney Valentine” is a tropical and transgressive sea song of lovers never to be that has a bizarre pep that will have your cold heart swooning upon first listen.  However, The most pleasant surprise of Waterdrawn are its lyrics, whose sassily coy witticisms are often more reminiscent of Brian Molko than the likes of Dylan or Donovan, my personal favorite being, “Johnny Boy, the King is not for me, but I’ll be your queen, your vicereine, your brooding little libertine.”

[youtube http://youtu.be/Z-3vGdgBR4s]