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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Living Sisters: Love to Live

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With their layers of easy, breezy harmonizing and blissful, AM-radio-style melodies, the Living Sisters sound of another era. The L.A.-based trio is composed of Inara George, Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark, who, though unrelated, have drawn comparisons to the Carter Family due to the purity of their voices and their inspired, retro songwriting. Their debut, Love to Live, feels as innocent as a virgin forest on early tracks such as "How Are You Doing?" and "Blue." That all comes to a screeching halt on "Double Knots," however, with its chorus: "My baby ties me up in double knots/Hey hey/He's gonna loosen me up." Indeed, there's a complexity to Love to Live that isn't immediately apparent. Like the best girl groups, the Living Sisters combine subtle sentiments about yearning and frustration with bright pop arrangements. Though the subjects of their songs aren't always pretty, the music usually is. (Vanguard Records) 4 out of 5 stars.

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