By Hal Horowitz
The energy of Holler is contagious and at just 35 minutes, nothing is extended past its breaking point. Don’t try to resist pushing play again after the last tune ends. That’s the true test of an album’s excellence, one The Watson Twins pass easily.
2. Sissy Said
3. The Palace
4. Hundred Miles
5. Never Be Another You
6. Honky Tonk Heart
7. My Name
8. Love You The Best
9. Southern Manners
10. Two Timin'
There are plenty of outfits led by siblings, far fewer who are twins and, rarest of all, identical twin singing sisters. Say howdy to The Watson Twins.
Perhaps best known for their supporting work on Jenny Lewis’ 2006 Rabbit Fur Coat, Chandra and Leigh Watson have crafted their own music since. The Nashville by way of L.A. (yet Kentucky born and bred) sisters initially composed separately. But as of 2018’s appropriately titled DUO, they joined forces, resulting in all 10 tracks on this follow-up written in tandem.
If that wasn’t enough collaboration, both women sing the lyrics to these lively, upbeat, rootsy, occasionally rockabilly inspired humdingers together. It’s tough not to flash back to the Everly Brothers as these strummy tunes unspool with harmonies so skintight you can’t distinguish one voice from the other.
All of this familial closeness wouldn’t mean much though without quality material. And The Watson Twins have it.
From the deliberate bluesy beat of the broken relationship tale ‘Never Be Another You’ to the twangy ‘Honky Tonk Heart’ and the zippy ‘My Name’ - a ditty where the protagonist is sure her romantic interest doesn’t know her name then finally admitting she doesn’t know his either - these songs will improve any mood.
On ‘The Palace’, the singer/songwriters take a page from early Emmylou Harris adding a dab of Sheryl Crow’s easy flowing melodicism and some stinging Southern slide guitar to top off one of this set’s most memorable choruses.
Listeners’ first impression will be how fresh and direct these performances sound. It’s as if they were captured live in the studio with the band and twins playing and singing in real time. Surprise! That’s precisely how they were recorded.
The immediacy, on full display in the hot stepping spunky closing ‘Two Timin’’, is aided by producer Butch Walker’s hands-off professionalism. Also integral to the set are the Watson’s cohesive touring musicians who back them. They create a more organic sound than the typical studio hired hands who punch a clock then leave for another gig.
It’s double fun. The energy of Holler (of course we also love the name) is contagious and at just 35 minutes, nothing is extended past its breaking point. Don’t try to resist pushing play again after the last tune ends. That’s the true test of an album’s excellence, one The Watson Twins pass easily.
Holler is out on Friday June 23 via Bloodshot.