Release Date: Jun 24, 2008
Record label: Vanguard
Genre(s): Alternative, Country
On their first full-length album, the Watson Twins sound as if they're stepping back a bit from the folky Appalachian tone of their earlier work into an alternate reality where Natalie Merchant has taken over as lead singer of Mazzy Star. Fire Songs doesn't quite match the languid, semi-psychedelic tone of Mazzy Star, but there's a subtle, easygoing but melancholy drift to the music that at least puts it in the same ballpark, and Chandra and Leigh Watson's vocals have a sincere, personable Earth Mother tone that keeps this rooted in a recognizable reality even when they float into the land of dreams. Russell Pollard and Jason Soda of Everest produced the album, and they've given the songs an atmospheric ambience that suits the melodies, and though there's a tone of playful innocence to some of these tracks, especially the stripped-down blue-eyed soul of "How Am I to Be" and the '70s-style Laurel Canyon balladeering of "Bar Woman Blues," most of the selections cut a good bit deeper than that, and both the arrangements and the sweet but full-bodied vocals are able to carry the weight of "Sky Opened Up" and "Map to Where You Are.
True to their name, Chandra and Leigh Watson are identical twins who write breezy folky pop in the vein of Feist and Rilo Kiley. Without shattering any paradigms, they’ve assembled a very listenable collection of songs that’d be a welcome addition to a Starbucks summer playlist. The album’s lone standout track is the catchy opener How Am I To Be, while the girls’ biggest misstep is a bland, pointless cover of the Cure’s Just Like Heaven.