If you remember back when each new Queen album was emblazoned with the slogan “No Synthesizers!” — no rockist gloat, just a proclamation that the clever special effects were trickier than they sounded — then you might feel a frisson of recognition to learn that Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld used no overdubbing or looping on “Never were the way she was.” But while this is their duo debut duo recording, saxophonist Stetson and violinist Neufeld have intersected previously as satellite members of Arcade Fire, and shared a stage as solo artists touring in tandem. Small wonder that they realized Stetson’s circular-breathed hymnody suited the cathedralesque expanse Neufeld’s amplied strings constructed. They wend through minimalist pinwheeling (“The sun roars into view”) and pared-down funk (“The rest of us”) to reach the title track’s Renaissance-motet epiphany, their odyssey made relatable through the grit, breath, and song that permeate their enchanting chronicle. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “The sun roars into view”Steve Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nightafternight.