In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: songs sung by siblings.
P.S. Eliot, “Incoherent Love Songs” (2009)
The Crutchfield name never meant much outside of Alabama. After all, Allison and Katie were just a pair of twins living in the south and playing in their high school band The Ackleys. But when the two put together P.S. Eliot, they began to get noticed, though it would still take a few more years—and a couple more bands—for their names to become synonymous with emotive indie-punk.
P.S. Eliot’s debut, Introverted Romance In Our Troubled Minds, sees the Crutchfields still finding their musical voice, but on certain songs it feels like it had been present all along. Take “Incoherent Love Songs,” a track that’s a lo-fi mish-mash of approaches, but works seemingly through the Crutchfields’ sheer force of will. In many ways, it serves as the roadmap not only for P.S. Eliot, but also teases what each sister would go on to achieve in the years following the band’s breakup.
Opening with a pair of guitars that allow Katie to croon, the song feels like an early test run for her material released under the Waxahatchee moniker. That is until Allison offers four clicks of her drumsticks and the band is off to the races. It gets so fast that Katie’s plaintiveness is lost in her flurry of words, but even as her syllables run together, there’s still a fine attention to detail. Little accents like a harmonious harmonica or an expertly executed drum-and-vocal break make “Incoherent Love Songs” more than just a precocious pop-punk song. If anything, it’s the sound of a budding sibling revolution, one that would take their splintering into different factions to galvanize the worlds of punk and indie rock.