The Chapin Sisters’ sophomore album, “Two” displays the folk duo’s raw vocal talent in a range of emotions as they continue their successful momentum since the release of their first album, “Lake Bottom LP,” in 2008.
These ladies can sing, and they know how to show it. The first track, “Sweet Light,” opens with strong and dark singing, followed by eerie instrumentation. It seems a little disconcerting at first, but it holds your attention and leaves you in a state of wonder.
Their voices are haunting yet comforting, and they harmonize beautifully.
Many of the songs on the album follow this example with powerful vocals and light, but profound, music backing them. Often only two or three instruments are used in a song.
“Paradise,” for example, features just a sweet, melancholy piano melody backed by a soft tambourine beat. It’s simple but holds interest and creates an appropriate atmosphere for the sad lyrics.
While most of the album has a somber tone to it, none of the songs are utterly depressing. The Chapin Sisters effectively emote subjects of loss and heartache without immersing themselves in them.
The sadness also has a beauty to it, which the vocals certainly enhance. It’s doubtful that anyone can make lyrics like, “Why do I keep trying at romance? I am hopeless; I’ll never succeed,” sound as sweet as the Chapin Sisters do.
However, the album has a genuinely happy ending as it takes a more lively turn with the last two songs, “Left All Alone” and “Trouble.”
The melodies in “Left All Alone” are fun and simple and the lyrics are almost playful.
“Trouble” is even more upbeat and includes a superbly utilized banjo and calls for some serious foot-tapping.
The emotions in every song on “Two” are easy to connect with, sometimes amusingly so, and create a strong relationship with the listener. This makes it a personal experience to listen through the whole album.
Abigail and Lily Chapin certainly have musical talent in their genes as they are the nieces of the late, popular folk musician, Harry Chapin (“Cat’s in the Cradle”).
They also often perform with their half sister, Jessica Craven, the daughter of film director and writer Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”).
It seems the Chapin Sisters will continue the legacy of artistic success with their sophomore album being just as good as their popular debut album.
Be sure to tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear tracks from the Chapin Sisters’ new album, “Two.”
The CD is available at www.thechapinsisters.com, and the sisters will perform Dec. 2 in Portland; a long way off but worth remembering.
Braden Smith/KSLC 90.3 FM
Braden Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.