The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me

RIYL: Jenny Lewis, Cocteau Twins, Patty Larkin

After nearly a decade attempting to make their name among L.A.’s alternative elite, the Watson Twins scored their big breakthrough when they were chosen by Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis to share the billing on her first solo outing, Rabbit Fur Coat, in 2006. Since then, they’ve been able to carry the marquee rights on their own, earning themselves a deal with the venerable Vanguard label, which released last year’s major label debut, Fire Songs and subsequently, an even better sophomore set.

Despite their down-home Appalachian upbringing, the sisters lean less on heartland sentiments and more on urban rock sensibilities, a modernist approach that places the emphasis on propulsive rhythms and eclectic arrangements to bolster their dreamy harmonies. In the course of these dozen tracks, the Watsons’ vary their vocals between the languid and the assertive, with melodies that veer from ethereal hymns to those that sound positively chipper by comparison. So while songs like “Forever Me,” “Snow Canyons” and “Give Me a Chance” tend to cast the album in a meditative haze, the pronounced stomp of “Savin’ You” and “U-N-Me” bolster the bottom line and add the emphasis that’s needed. (Vanguard 2010)

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