Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose have written hits for other artists (Lee Greenwood’s ”Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands”) and sung backup for the likes of Emmylou Harris. But aside from the raw emotion of that work, nothing they’ve done approaches this debut album, which offers songs of love, lust, ecstasy, loneliness, and fear on a mostly acoustic pop-rock framework. There is much that makes this special — the quality of the lyrics (”We hold each other to ease the pain/Trading nights of comfort/For mornings in chains”), an almost familial vocal blend, an arresting instrumental configuration (guitars joined by kalimba, sonic drums, and Autoharp), and a delivery that can be as intense as a thunderstorm (”Love Like This”) and serene as a sunrise (”Born to Give My Love”). Hai-Ku is sensual stuff.

  • Music