Under Review: The Watson Twins – Talking To You, Talking To Me

Chandra and Leigh Watson really lucked out.  When they were recruited for Rilo Kiley leader Jenny LewisRabbit Fur Coat album, they became more widely known than they could’ve possibly imagined (or could’ve been prepared for).  Perhaps pressured to prove themselves as more than a backing band, The Watson Twins made their full-length debut with Fire Songs, a drowsy collection of country-tinged melodies that was a dull as Rabbit Fur Coat was intoxicating.  Clearly the sisters had talent, but they still hadn’t found the right way to show it off.  Enter Talking To You, Talking To Me, the twins’ new record.  The first thing that jumps out from Talking To You is its distinct lack of country influence.  Instead, the twins’ embrace a soulful, R&B groove that is a pleasantly surprising turn.  Naturally, vocal harmony is a big part of the twins’ sound, and the opening pair of “Modern Man” and “Harpeth River” finds the Watsons playfully and smoothly trading lead and backup melodies.  Talking To You is clearly and undoubtedly more sonically captivating than Fire Songs, but that’s not to say that the album is overwhelmingly spectacular.  When “Midnight,” the album’s longest cut, reaches its rousing climax, it has already trudged through several off-putting refrains of “no, no/no, no/no, no” and so on.  If the twins were going for a Bill Withers thing (which they would’ve otherwise pulled off, given the electric piano and ethereal background vocals), it’s too far overdone.  The album picks up again later on, with “U-N-Me” and the impressive “Devil In You” keeping the second side from being a total letdown.  Luckily for the Watsons, Talking To You, Talking To Me shows great improvement from the band in the two years since Fire Songs.  It could be the ever-increasing distance from the Rabbit Fur Coat sessions or the band’s relocation to Los Angeles, but the new, unpredictably non-country sound works.  Talking To You does feature a number of enjoyable songs that show promise for even better material in the future.  The Watson Twins have, in my opinion, finally stepped out from Jenny Lewis’ shadow and are truly blossoming into their own charming entity.  In a few years, Talking To You might not be remembered as a high point in the twins’ career; not because of its own faults, but because of the twins’ surely impending magnum opus.

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~ by E. on February 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Under Review: The Watson Twins – Talking To You, Talking To Me”

  1. There’s TWO of them.

  2. Maybe they should have covered “U.N. Me”

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