When Rebecca Gates and Scott Plouf released their first single as the Spinanes back in 1992, there was much to be said of their "Hey look, no bass!" lineup. There was also much said of Rebecca Gates' dry, draped-in-velvet delivery (not many people can make distance seem so warm). Yet instead of following the chunky rock they pursued on their debut, Manos, they branched out into more somber, adventurous and orchestrated territory on Strand in 1996. Strand was a beautiful, organic, multilayered album soaked in harmonies and Rebecca Gates' increasingly interesting songwriting. Gates' final release and first without Plouf, Arches and Aisles, sees her with more studio assistance than ever, but no shortage of haunting heartache and hushed rhymes.