By Bliss Bowen


(S-Curve/BMG): 3½

Heads up to Broadway fans of Henry’s performances in “Carousel,” “Scottsboro Boys” and the road company of “Hamilton”: The Tony-nominated actor flexes his muscular baritone for his debut EP, a four-track soul project anchored by a stirring cover of “Stand Up (Show Love)” by his labelmates the O’Jays. Henry also expresses hope, love and uncompromising aspiration in his own songs, notably lead single “Hold Me,” which marries its uplifting message to a memorable hook: “You know all my passions/ The only way I fly/ One hand holding yours/ One hand to the sky/ … Hold me, just don’t hold me back.”

LOST HORIZONS, In Quiet Moments

(Bella Union): 4

The UK duo follow 2017’s cinematic “Ojalá” with another set of improvisation-rooted collaborations. Cocteau Twin (and Bella Union co-founder) Simon Raymonde and drummer Richard Thomas’ roster of guests includes several who appeared on “Ojalá,” such as Gemma Dunleavy, Marissa Nadler, emotive Horse Thief vocalist Cameron Neal (“Nobody Knows My Name”), and Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris (winsome piano ballad “This Is the Weather”). “Cordelia” is a psychedelic dream swathed in strings, lap steel, and John Grant’s layered harmonies, while The Hempolics’ retro-soul style brightens “I Woke Up With an Open Heart.” Inevitably influenced by the pandemic, the 16 tracks comprise a moodscape of sorrow, introspection and


CORVAIR, Corvair (Paper Walls): 3

Part of the flood tide of new music and art rising from pandemic isolation, this Portland husband-and-wife duo’s debut album gilds pop melodies with harmonies between guitarist/bassist Brian Naubert and keyboardist Heather Larimer. Propelled by Eric Eagle’s insistent drumming, the 10 songs ostensibly track a love story across continents and decades with threads of dream pop, classic and ’90s indie rock. But real-life social turmoil could also be the focus of standouts such as “Oceansided” (“See the forest for the trees/ Less is more is what you need”) and “Sunday Runner”: “The lake that lies between us/ When we fight for the light that we’ve never seen/ It won’t mean nothing when we get through.”

CHUCK JOHNSON, The Cinder Grove (Vin du Select Qualitite): 3

The Oakland pedal steel guitarist’s requiem for what’s been lost to recent California wildfires is a comforting instrumental bath for weary souls and ears. More contemplative than his 2020 release “Mound of Shards,” its five compositions foster a sense of renewal. Cellist Crystal Pascucci channels grief during the gorgeous “Red Branch Bell,” and Johnson blends synthesizers throughout with graceful contributions from pianist Sarah Davachi and violinists Marielle V. Jakobsons and Hilary Lewis. He approaches his pedal steel with expressive restraint, but more of its singular voice would be cathartic.