Fathoming the depth of bliss, Liz Lenten’s ensemble slip underneath the listener’s skin to keep them warm, if slightly worried.
A route to happiness requires a rocking horse because only imbalance can bring excitement to one’s life. No wonder, then, that the tagline of 2015’s "Mixed Feelings" was “I can’t function in this state” as it mirrored Liz Lenten’s turmoil which subsided by now into what’s defined in the finale of that album’s successor as “State Of Grace” – although the wonder has a life of its own here. Personified in “Wanda” as the vocalist’s alter ego, there’s ambivalence to this countrified piece, yet if “She can be submissive or she can take the lead” may seem rather intimate, it’s also a description of the band’s method, because Lenten’s writing is most profound when she follows her instincts and, ripping a genre rulebook, does what’s best for the song.
That’s why, with Liz’s Englishness seeping through the Americana of the band’s previous two records – twining the singer’s voice to Chet O’Keefe’s shadowy presence, “Cross The Deep Atlantic” is a delicate reflection of her current position – these twelve tracks burn slowly but wild. This stance can be rather precarious as the harmonium and steel guitar of “Safety Net” stress, even though there’s an audible smile in it, yet while “In My Blood” marries purr to a sparse twang to rock it mildly, the strum and plea of “Stupid Game” wrap heartbreak in a heated romance. Still, from a whisper of the stately opener “Asleep” to “Miss You Blues” whose step sounds so seductive, to “Tell Me” where domestic argument is a mere measurement of genuine love, joy flows on like molasses. Of course, something is unfulfilled at the end, but that’s the imbalance, covered by the “Promises” part of it, to keep the band going further on down the road.