Saturday, June 07, 2014


The debut album by sisters Lindsay Powell and Alexis Powell is kind of like the contemporary alt-folk equivalent of the worst albums of the British folk revival of the '60s, especially the wing spearheaded by the Incredible String Band.Come, Arrow, Come! is terminally precious in its mix of modern folk and psychedelic tropes with a thin veneer of whatthe Festival seem to think music sounded like in the days of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The sisters favor the same sort of affected delivery as Shirley Collins, but without her technical mastery, and the slapdash arrangements sound like the work of musicians with only the vaguest sense of what the records which inspired the Festival actually sounded like. (The credits include appearances by two former members of the Nashville pop-punk act Be Your Own Pet, which seems to confirm that hypothesis.) Toward the end of this brief album, the gospel-inflected "Valentine" shifts its inspiration from Albion to the Alan Lomax field recordings while sounding just as awkward and insincere. But then the album closes with the brief but entrancing "Come Outside!," on which the Festival drops all the pretense and delivers a mysteriously lovely reverie for crashing piano chords, a cheap electronic beat box and the sisters' entwined voices, which for the first time sound like the voices of women singing for the sheer physical and emotional pleasure of it. A follow-up album using that song as its musical and conceptual starting point would be most welcome.


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