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Reviews: Someone's Sister ~ Hand Me Downs|
Posted on Saturday, February 05, 2005 @ 12:23:58 UTC
Artist: Someone's Sister
CD: Hand Me Downs
Home: North Carolina
Quote: "The two voices layer effortlessly, forming gorgeous harmonies however sweet or melancholy."
By Genevieve Will
They may claim allegiance to folk rock, but the flag Someone’s Sister seems to be saluting is that of alt-country. Poignantly and gracefully, the duo unwraps a picture of true-to-life relationships of all sorts on their release Hand Me Downs. With a loose definition of “sister,” Georgia Winfree and Katherine Jones manage to offer slippery narratives of individual interactions that are not so far off the relative experience charts. Tight songwriting and uncomplicated melodies allow the two women, not sisters technically, to shave away the cloudy film obscuring their canvas.
Each song easily owns up to several points of entry, giving the listener remote keyless access to the pair’s experiences, and straightforward lyrics allow an unobscured view of the emotive grace that makes Hand Me Downs worth listening to. Familiar lines and an overly basic rhyme scheme detract a bit, but overall they compliment the narrative style Someone’s Sister embraces. Moreover, declarations like “you fall to your knees and then you fall through the cracks” push the Strong Woman vibe to where it should be and adequately aid the album in rocking out. Additionally, as Bob Dylan can tell you, it’s all in the delivery; and man, can these two wail.
Both women’s voices could be placed in the zone somewhere between Elton John and Dar Williams; Jones’ echoes slightly more lightly than Winfree’s, reminiscent of a less Southern Patsy Cline. Winfree’s rings out somewhat closer to the sultry depth of K.D. Lang. Truly Hand Me Downs' highlight, the two voices layer effortlessly, forming gorgeous harmonies however sweet or melancholy the song. “I’m Still Here” makes the point soundly as sonic goodness builds slowly, as Winfree begins and then converges to a greater peak as Jones joins in. Vocally, the album is as reassuringly sound as a minivan with eighteen seat belts.
Regrettably, neither Someone’s Sister’s lyrics nor instrumentation prove as solid. As aforementioned, fragile poetic one-liners are carelessly interspersed into tediously stale patterns that simply remain faintly household and cliché. Also, while not lacking musically, Hand Me Downs plainly doesn’t propose anything innovative or even that interesting musically. The mandolin on “New Shoes” is the instrumental summit of the entire album, and friend Lillian Jones plays that. The two honestly are a musical dynamic duo, and with their voices, I look forward to another attempt.
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