The Watson Twins have been gigging around Los Angeles for years, but they rose to national prominence as crack backup singers on Jenny Lewis' 2006 album Rabbit Fur Coat. That much-loved album casts a long shadow, and the Twins' full-length debut sans Lewis doesn't do quite enough to step out of it. But what Fire Songs lacks in flash it makes up for in listenability, casting a series of gentle, ethereal songs that are almost aggressively serene. This many slow, unobtrusive tracks packed together could easily retreat into bland background music, but for the most part the Twins keep things engaging with perfectly matched, smoky voices that excel on twangy, noir-folk tracks like "Sky Open Up" and "Bar Woman Blues," as well as an unexpected take on The Cure's "Just Like Heaven." The Watsons prove themselves to be compelling songwriters and interpreters, with a natural, unvarnished take on their material (highlighted by the album's warm sound). Their vocals can occasionally become a bit limiting—as on the anemic "Waves"—and there's not much in the way of hooks to catch the ears of those who aren't already listening carefully, but those paying attention should find plenty to latch on to.
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