Rhythm & Views


WHEN BASSIST KARLA SCHICKELE became the third member of Ida in 1996, singer/songwriter/guitarist Elizabeth Mitchell said it was because the band needed "sex appeal." Ida may not be the sexiest band around (no offense, Karla), but it sure knows how to create songs that make you feel as though you've just been whacked in the head by a cupidean arrow.

Mitchell and singer/songwriter/guitarist Daniel Littleton were married this year, and it's hard not to connect this to the fact that Will You Find Me is saturated with a visceral sensuality. Music has always been about love, but it's never been like this before. The songs have embedded into the instrumentation intense feelings of joy and sorrow in a way that redefines conventional folk/pop songwriting.

Example: "The Radiator." The song is a simple image without any sort of sappy meaning attached to it: "The radiator was hissing in the kitchen / we sat on the fire escape / your hand was in mine." This quiet, sparse, non-rhyming lyric, surrounded by the warm guitar arpeggios Ida is known for, conveys more emotion and meaning than a hundred rock songs all played simultaneously at high volumes. It's these small snapshots that Ida's songs focus on that make the songs so refreshing within the verse-chorus-verse formula--it's like Ida stuck a needle into some emotion-vein and drained it directly into the musicians' voices and guitars.

What Ida has now with its fourth full-length is more than just sex appeal--it's pure amore, set to perfectly arranged guitars, vocal harmonies, pianos and violins. Elizabeth Mitchell's and Daniel Littleton's ability to play rockin' Prince covers at live shows and then turn around and release a children's record (You Are My Flower, which is now available online) makes Ida the kind of band anyone might just fall head over heels for.