Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Watson Twins - Fire Songs

Download: The Watson Twins - "How Am I To Be?"
Download: The Watson Twins - "Sky Open Up"

The Watson Twins
Fire Songs (Vanguard Records, 2008)
Grade: C

It’s nice to hear talented musicians stray from what’s considered to be their “norm” and familiar sound, emerging with something unique and addictive without being trite and forced. It’s also important to own that new sound, and be unafraid to use it. Chandra and Leigh Watson (known professionally as The Watson Twins) have branched out with their newest album Fire Songs, and without the accompaniment of Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis (who worked with them on 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat) the sisters Watson don electric guitars and a cleaner, more pop-friendly sound.

Rabbit Fur Coat is one of those albums that follows you around right from its first listen, haunting you with beautiful ballads and demanding replay after replay. Although released over two years ago, it’s still discussed as one of the better albums to come out of the indie/alt-country scene. That said, it’s safe to say that Fire Songs is effective at perking up ones ears immediately, opening with the peppy and girl-group-esque "How Am I To Be?."

The twins easily blend together harmonies that are fresh and fun, and a sweet guitar sound filled with pink bubblegum and poodle skirts. What follows, however, is intrinsically different from the draw-in of the first song. Songs like "Sky Open Up" are beautiful and serene, but there’s an audible void of the light, summery sound that first got Fire Songs off on the right foot. It would be unrealistic not to expect some down-trodden mellow songs from the Watson Twins, since it essentially seems to be there staple; but at the same time, it’s very obvious that they can pull off something that’s more lighthearted and danceable, but aren’t sure if they want to dive into that sound headfirst.

Instead, they lolligag and have songs that that sound like things they’ve done before, only not quite as well. Cuts like "Dig a Little Deeper" and "Lady Love Me’ are so eerily similar that they're indistinguishable, and are a tad monotonous. There’s no denying these ladies are talented on several levels, from vocals to songwriting, but the choices of song on this record are questionable. It’s grand to experience a multitude of different rhythms and genres within a good album, and unfortunately, Fire Songs falls short of doing so.

The Watson Twins MySpace Page

(Tara Rogan)

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