Sisters Lily & Madeleine make a laid-back folk with jazzy edges and on Keep it Together have drawn together all the elements of their past releases. Their songwriting is strong and their dual vocals are charming. The pair have released on Sufjan Stevens label and his sound a good reference point too. This album is released by New West.
7/10 Jamie Staff review, 23 February 2016
"Keep It Together" is the third album in three years from the young Indiana sisters / YouTube sensations / pop-folk-sters with pretty and harmonious voices.
It's slightly darker in mood from their first two albums, now that they're apparently free from the strings of Sufjan and his Asthmatic Kitty. They're all grown up now, see, at 21 and 18 years of age. I think there may have been a heartbreak or two along the way, if opening track "Not Gonna" is anything to go by. They both sound... sadder than before. The instrumentation is more fleshed-out than before but beautifully balanced, not over-produced. "For The Weak" is more powerful, punchy and electric than the acoustics we're normally accustomed to having caress our ears; "Westfield" adds subtle electronics to the sound palette; "Chicago" is a love(lorn) letter to the Windy City (they've really been getting around one helluva lot these past three years on the road!) "Like the speeding cars, my head and my heart collided..." Despite their still tender years, they've always been mature songwriters. There's still nothing (so far) that feels as immediate as "The Wolf is Free" or "Sounds Like Somewhere", however...
"Hotel Pool" on side two continues in much the same way as initial track on side one did. There's a detectable shoegaze influence here, albeit a very muted, skewed version of mbv. It's probably the catchiest song on the record yet. "Smoke Tricks" is their most melancholic, claustrophobic-sounding song yet; "I try to run but I'm too slow" - from a dysfunctional relationship, it seems. Haunting melody, but still very pretty. It sums up the record - more grown-up, moodier but still sweet. "Midwest Kid" tells of their struggles to break free from the confines of their roots and the mentality of small town Indiana, "Small Talk" breezes along in true Americana tradition, with a grungy edge to it. Twittering birdsong introduces the closing track, "Nothing". It's the sweetest song in this collection, and a hark back to "Fumes", all those months ago... The sound, once again, of a velvet heart being crushed. In the song, I mean. Not mine.
A worthy addition to the catalogue of sibling singer-songwriters, but ultimately a record not guaranteed to garner many more fans from outside their sphere.
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- Keep It Together by Lily & Madeleine
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