I believe it goes without saying that the Cranes were, and still remain, one of the most under-recognized musical groups of the 90s.
While they banged and bashed out their roughness on their first three albums, there was a subtle yet present trend toward cerebral melancholy and gentleness.
"Loved" marked a turning point in their career, but this is not to say that this is a work without bite, but rather, the bite is all the more noticable for the showcasing of Allison Shaw's rapturously delicate voice filled with girlish whimsy, against a background of pulsing effects and acoustic guitar.
"Shining Road" the first, and most obvious single carries with it hopeful yet world-weary lyrics against glorious pulsations which manage to tug on the heart-strings while provoking a kind of industrial hopping dance effect.
Elsewhere, as in the terrified "Lillies" (whose lyrics appear in the liner notes), and the softness of the mournful "Beautiful Friend", the dichotomy achieves heights of its awareness in the listener, and by the time "Paris And Rome" and "In The Night" have swept past, a peaceful and pensive suspension add eagerness to the final remixes.
As of when I write this, "Loved" is my favourite of the Cranes' albums, and is highly reccomended as a starting point to their career, which is also handy, since it is one of the only two Cranes full-length albums available in the US.
Do make the purchase and enjoy.