- Audio CD (8 Feb. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: EMI
- ASIN: B0031S4JVY
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,724 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Talking to You, Talking to Me CD
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Talking To You, Talking To Me is undoubtedly the Watson Twins' most ambitious to date. This release finds The Watson Twins taking a soulful turn à la Carole King, but with a distinct pop edge reminiscent of Feist. The result is a heartfelt nod to their roots, retaining the ethereal harmonies that have become their signature while incorporating myriad influences and inspirations. The twins, Chandra and Leigh Watson, along with a band of friends including members of Everest and My Morning Jacket, recorded the album at Los Angeles' famed Fairfax Recordings, capturing the essence of The Watson Twins' extraordinary talents on a record that is at once driving, poignant and beautiful.
The presence of twins in pop music – bless their shared DNA – has a somewhat chequered history. The intimacy between them can often trigger warmth and playfulness, but there are oceans of difference between Kim and Kelley Deal’s brilliant Breeders or Jez and Andy Williams’ Doves and the saccharine pop of Bros and The Cheeky Girls. Leigh and Chandra Watson, identical 35-year-olds born and raised in Kentucky, but now living in California, aim to be in the former camp, making alt-folk and country of a rather classy order. But instead of being an engaging, lovely exercise in family values, Talking to You, Talking to Me is an icy cold listen.
It’s also been four years since the Twins came to prominence as backing singers on Jenny Lewis’ 2006 debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, and as any fans of that album would expect, their voices are strong enough to carry a whole record. Sadly, the songs here are slight and flimsy. Most of them sound like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it backing tracks for under-performing American drama series, pleasant and wholesome as a high-street sandwich, but instantly forgettable. Given that many of them start promisingly, it’s a shame. Modern Man’s driving drum beat loses its power when it’s faced with a butter-smooth melody about an “old-fashioned girl” calling her eponymous lover. The Brave One’s quickly-strummed country licks are quickly anaesthetised when the twins start to sing, without a whiff of interest or emotion, about the “confusion all around me”. Harpeth River even starts like an off cut from Portishead’s Dummy, before its refined wah-wah guitars show how much more committed it is to dull elegance than the Bristol band’s ragged, intense honesty.
Old-fashioned songs without recourse to fancy modern textures work best for The Watson Twins, like the simple finger-clicking balladry of Tell Me Why – a song full of simple lines about hearts sinking and being alone – and Give Me a Chance, in which they sound heartfelt for once, begging a man to not “take me, love me and leave me for dead”. When they sound this alive, it’s hard to ignore them, but as this happens so rarely, pulses will flatline long before they flicker into life. --Jude Rogers
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Top customer reviews
However, before appearing to damn with faint praise, I ought to add that what the Twins certainly are is in love with song. As such and like many talented artists who share that particular obsession, they seem to be drawn to soul and country. Fair enough - all musical roads worth following eventually end up in either place, or at least they should. So, where their previous album, "Fire Songs" leant quite noticeably in a country direction, soul is by far the more dominant sister on this consistently satisfying and very beautiful collection.
The album mixes this with a generous, welcoming and contemporary pop sensibility, which makes for a very enjoyable listen from the off. In the end, however, what convinces more than anything are the songs, nearly all straight out of the top drawer and presented to us mere mortals just exactly as they need to be. "Forever Me, Forever You" and "Midnight" in particular are old school soul outings quite devastating in their emotional pull, but picking highlights really isn't necessary here.
Sorry to the ladies, but I have to deduct a star for the shockingly twee "Tell Me Why", which I'm sure is destined to wear out a lot of skip buttons - what were they thinking? That being said, 12 swings and 11 home runs is certainly something I'd settle for from the rest of my CD collection and I can't be alone in that.
This is a real treat and I can only recommend it. Anyone who enjoys Hazeldine, Shelby Lynne or even early Roberta Flack should form an orderly queue, to be joined by those who appreciate Tindersticks' wonderful "Can Our Love" - now that's praise, believe me.