Release Date: Feb 9, 2010
Record label: Vanguard
Genre(s): Rock, Folk, Alt-Country
The Watson Twins' voices have been their greatest asset and their greatest liability. Their sisterly harmonies, so tight and effortless they seemingly could only be the product of twins, have taken them far-- most notably landing them a job adding 1970s country window dressing to Jenny Lewis' Rabbit Fur Coat. Those voices also got them a deal at Vanguard Records and a modest following well outside of Los Angeles.
Although still best known for the lush backing vocals they brought to Jenny Lewis’s Rabbit Fur Coat, the Watson Twins continue to emerge as a formidable vocal act worthy of top-billing on their second full-length album, Talking to You, Talking to Me. In looking beyond the confines of the often stuffy alt-country style of Rabbit and their underwhelming debut, Fire Songs, Leigh and Chandra come up with a sound that capitalizes on the richness of their vocal harmonies. Though some recognizable country flourishes still emerge (the delicate brushed snare and gentle piano on “Tell Me Why” and “Calling Out” owe an obvious debt to Sammi Smith’s classic rendition of “Help Me Make It Through the Night”), the bulk of the album suggests a less studio-slick version of Duffy’s Rockferry.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Watson Twins’ music thus far in is their ability to add layers and textures to the material of others’ music. It’s telling that their best song from Fire Songs was a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and while that album had some gems scattered among the largely anonymous arrangements, it was still hard to distinguish the artists the Watson Twins from the backing band the Watson Twins. Perhaps that was the point; after all much of Fire Songs continued in the same mountain soul twang of their collaboration with Jenny Lewis, Rabbit Fur Coat.
The Watson Twins were absolutely instrumental to the dimension and depth that characterized Rabbit Fur Coat, their rightfully acclaimed work with Jenny Lewis. Talking To You, Talking To Me, the Watson Twins' sophomore album, is the Twins' solo stab at the same sparkling soulfulness that made Coat sizzle.Like both Coat and last year's Fire Songs (the Twins' full-length debut), Talking expertly succeeds in establishing and sustaining a distinct atmosphere throughout the entirety of the album. Talking finds the Twins adopting the moody tone of a torch singer, eschewing the intricate harmonies that once characterized them for a more singular voice.
The Watson Twins know how to set a mood, whether they’re shaping the country-soul of Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit Fur Coat or the Southern slow-burn of their own material. Released four years after their breakthrough performance with Lewis, however, this sophomore album finds the sisters struggling to write songs as evocative as their own voices. Talking to You, Talking to Me takes its cues from the right sources -- including Carole King’s solo material and the darker, twangier side of the Laurel Canyon scene -- and features contributions from a sparse, top-notch band populated by members of My Morning Jacket and Everest.
Mediocre mewling Soft pop—good soft pop—has a place in the world. Not every song must electrify. But The Watson Twins make Norah Jones sound like Sharon Jones. They make She & Him sound like Ike & Tina. Their spectacularly boring new album has so little dynamic variance that it literally pains ….
MASSIVE ATTACK“Heligoland”(Virgin) Massive Attack is less a band than a cloud of free-floating anxiety. Its members, Robert Del Naja (or 3D) and Grant Marshall (Daddy G), are pioneers of the trip-hop that emerged from clubs in Bristol, England, in the late 1980s. (A third founder, Andy Vowles, a k a Mushroom, left in 1999.) Massive Attack worked like a reggae sound system and production team, collaborating with singers.
The pair are expectedly strong of voice, but much here comprises an icy cool listen. Jude Rogers 2010 The presence of twins in pop music – bless their shared DNA – has a somewhat chequered history. The intimacy between them can often trigger warmth and playfulness, but there are oceans of difference between Kim and Kelley Deal’s brilliant Breeders or Jez and Andy Williams’ Doves and the saccharine pop of Bros and The Cheeky Girls.
The Watson Twins seem committed to being tandem torchers, and building upon their natural, sultry, Southern-bent harmonies, the duo's inseparable intentions are justified. Which is what makes its sophomore LP so direly disappointing. Each song sets Chandra or Leigh in the fore, with their vocals intertwining only to accent, which results in a lot of smoke but little fire.