For the first time, She Keeps Bees' Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant let an outside producer—Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs)— guide their minimalist sound. Guest musicians Sharon Van Etten and Adam Schatz also make appearances. But anyone who was transfixed by Larrabee's early releases that she recorded alone in her Brooklyn apartment shouldn’t be disappointed by the evolution of her sound. Eight Houses is a carefully sculpted album where dynamics are carefully applied. Though many tracks rise and fall as emotions simmer and occasionally boil over (“Breezy,” “Owl”), it isn’t until tracks four (“Both Sides”), eight (“Greasy Grass”), and nine (“Raven”) that she begins her voice and her electric guitar at the point of pure confrontation. The remaining songs take a largely gentle but persistent attack; it’s understandable why she’s been compared to Cat Power. Both artists often use elemental guitar lines, scattered piano notes, and raw drums to pursue their dark and persistent dreams.