The Living Sisters

Love to Live


Mar 25, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

As sweet as apple pie and as American as nostalgia for a Norman Rockwell-colored era that never really existed, The Living Sisters' Love to Live is a non-guilty pleasure aimed at an all-ages audience. However, given the charming absurdity of Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), sly subversiveness of Inara George (Bird and the Bee), and no-nonsense style of Eleni Mandell, one can't help but wish for a bit more from these talented women.

Retro for retro's sake, the trio's honeysuckle harmonies are often burdened by sleepy soft folk production. Lacking the freshness of She & Him or the edge of like-minded project The Langley Sisters, the album's ten tracksclocking in just over a half-hourseem to stretch to twice their length. Retro-queen Georgede facto group leadernever misses a step, selling her role with aplomb. Stark's little girl quirk quickly grows stale, however, particularly during the spoken word section of "Cradle," a moment that aims for greeting card cute and settles for dangerously schlocky. Trapped between the two extremes, Mandell's recumbent personality relegates her to second fiddle.

Denied musical edge, The Living Sisters rely on a series of mildly-PG topics to interject excitement, including sexual temptations ("Hold Back") and mentions of partial nudity...which one assumes will lead to more sexual temptation ("Double Knots"). While a cheap ploy, it works, temporarily elevating the album's mood above perpetual post-lunch naptime. Decidedly less than the sum of its parts, this is one musical feast you might want to think twice before digging in to. (

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