She’s Your Sister’s still good the second time

She\'s Your Sister - onetwothreefour album coverThis article is reposted from an article I wrote for The Technique (official site, Wikipedia article), published on April 20, 2007. (html, pdf) This album is available online: She’s Your Sister – OneTwoThreeFour. As of this writing, it was going for $0.01 + shipping used.

Every week, the ‘Nique receives a few CDs, some of which are reviewed. Some are admittedly best suited for the trash; however, there are occasionally gems such as She’s Your Sister’s second release, onetwothreefour.

The four-member group was formed in Chicago in 2004, and their first album, In Between, was released in July 2005. Since then, they have moved to and toured extensively in California. In case you were wondering, the band’s name is a reference to a line in the 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums; when I read the name, I thought EuroTrip. Either way, the funny name reflects the band’s generally light tone.

The album’s sound is very much within pop/rock, almost what I would call “generic” if it weren’t for that word’s negative connotation; indeed, almost all of the songs on their CD are worth listening to, a rare feat in today’s music business. It helps that each of their songs comes in at about three minutes each.

Another bonus is that the words in the songs are actually audible and intelligible; when you can’t hear what they’re trying to convey, they might as well be writing techno, and bad hard rock does not make good techno. Thus, screaming into a microphone doesn’t make good rock, and She’s Your Sister’s vocalist seems to know this. Vocals aren’t the only good thing about this album, though; the music is generally catchy, while carefully avoiding the sound associated with today’s overplayed pop groups. Make no mistake; this is definitely a rock group.

The album starts off strongly with “Pixie Led,” a very catchy song that uses backup vocals and a guitar solo to excellent effect. Unfortunately, the chorus (“Take me home / Won’t you be my somewhere”) gets drilled into your head.

The next few tracks show a smooth transition through their album, and aren’t quite as strong as their lead. “Doll” and “Sweet Sorrow” both display good work on the guitar and drums, and both songs occasionally use silence to good effect, a mark of a more mature band.

The worst song on the disk is without a doubt “Greener,” which is mercifully the second-shortest track. It has relatively poor vocals, and is mixed entirely too loud. While mixing songs to be “loud” is an industry trend, smaller bands shouldn’t need to fall into that trap. It is with regret that I report She’s Your Sister has tracks that are just as loud as any these days, something that is especially audible in “Greener” and to a lesser extent in “Take.” As any good audiophile will tell you, “loud” tracks such as this one are difficult to listen to for extended periods of time, and have a lower dynamic range.

As if to apologize for that monstrosity, the next song (“Mirror Mirror”) has a very good volume, and a more somber tone. “Of Hate and Stormy Weather” also follows that path with an interesting touch. Other particularly worthwhile tracks include “Bleached,” “One” and “Kick You Out.” After “Greener,” the band’s songs all have a very similar sound, although the tracks do vary somewhat in the balance of pop and rock.

She’s Your Sister still has some work to do, but their CD is generally strong, especially since the majority of the tracks are enjoyable. It’s definitely worth a listen, and probably worth the buy. The album will be released in June and will coincide with the group’s first nationwide tour. An Atlanta performance is planned but not confirmed.

Andrew Guyton

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