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In an age of fractured genres and equally fractured attention spans, pretty music faces unenviable opposition. Even still, the occasional act manages to pierce through the armored gates of popular convention and gain notoriety for assembling sounds which are unequivocally wholesome and pristine. One thinks of artists such as Neko Case or Jenny Lewis, both of whom have managed to turn beautiful drawls into relatively big audiences, and nipping at their heels are The Chapin Sisters.
Los Angeles may seem like an unlikely breeding ground for such tender and earnest sounds, but the bona fide sister act of Abigail and Lily have talent which cannot be restricted by geographic vagaries. As their new sophomore record, Two (released by Lake Bottom Records), continues to illustrate, the duo has copious amounts of talent and charm. “Palm Tree” sounds like a folksy, Memphis reinterpretation of a forgotten Motown ballad, its sparse instrumentation serving as a perfect stage for The Chapin Sisters’ harmonizing gymnastics. Their voices tumble and soar around one another with an effortless aplomb for which the word “beautiful” should be specially reserved.
Inevitably, some listeners will be scared away by the honest, unfiligreed sound espoused by The Chapin Sisters–but for those who are swept away by their performance, such qualities are the very basis of the duo’s powerful allure.