Identical twins Chandra and Leigh Watson, i.e. The Watson Twins, might be known for Rabbit Fur Coat, which they released with Jenny Lewis, but it is Fire Songs that made a fan out of me.
The Kentucky-born duo, who cite among their influences folk, gospel, blues and country have followed up their 2006 self-released and critically acclaimed Southern Manners EP with an album full of twang, folk-inspired rhythms and beautiful vocal harmonies.
Fire Songs is smooth, mellow and a little bit alt-country.
Standouts (do I really have to choose?) include “How Am I To Be” (reminiscent of Pony Up!) and “Lady Love Me” (which channels the musical styling of both The Cocteau Twins and The Sundays).
Then there's The Watson Twins’ cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” which is, well, heaven. Already one of my favorite 80s songs is now so dreamy and laid back, this cover lulls me into a deep relaxed state.
Other noteworthy tunes are “Dig a Little Deeper” (in which the twins sound like a combination of Liz Phair and Natalie Merchant), “Bar Woman Blues” and “Fall.” “Only You” offers more of The Cocateau Twins and The Sundays sound.
On the bolder side, the less dreamy and more jazzy “Map To Where You Are” uses nice bright horns to back up the sultry vocal sounds of the twins' lush voices, and coupled with a plucking bass, almost evokes a '50s big band sound.
“Old Ways” features some great guitar work, lending a melancholy feel to an already sad song. “Waves,” which closes the album, showcases the melodic harmonies of The Watson Twins and proves that they are serious about singing and making music that sounds good.
Really, every Fire Songs song works, with the exception of maybe “Sky Open Up,” which is not to say it’s not a good song, but rather than it’s my least favorite on the album, partly because it seems the most “country” of the lot.
Fans of The Sundays, The Cocteau Twins, The Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, Liz Phair and Natalie Merchant should find Fire Songs by The Watson Twins a nice easy listen.