Sisterly harmonies have long been a part of pop music, from the big band sounds of the Andrews Sisters to Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson; but recent years have seen a boom of musical sister acts, including such hit makers as Haim, Tegan & Sara, and First Aid Kit. Teenaged sisters Lily & Madeleine are the latest additions to this elite club. Think of them as the new Simon & Garfunkel to the Secret Sisters‘ Everly Brothers.
Signed to Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty Records, the Indiana siblings sing sophisticated close harmonies over gentle, acoustic backing— but if that sounds boring, think again! Because these ladies are also gifted songwriters, and they imbue each tune with an original perspective. Highly expressive singing tints each song with a new mood, from the folky “Come to Me” to the wistful “Spirited Away”, which recalls summer days long past.
Although their influences are mainly folk artists like Simon & Garfunkel and their label owner Sufjan, the sisters still work in some surprises. The haunting “Disappearing Heart” could be a vintage Heart slow jam, while “Nothing But Time” bops along like the Innocence Mission. “Paradise” sounds like it comes from the heyday of K Records, recalling the Softies and the Crabs.
Combined with their introductory EP, The Weight of the Globe, the album is almost an embarassment of riches and talent. Strong songwriting, beautiful singing, and a highly enjoyable debut album—at ages 16 and 18, Lily & Madeleine are poised to take over the world.