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Review: Lily and Madeleine, S/T



Lily and Madeleine
Asthmatic Kitty

Envy the push behind harmonizing sister duo Lily and Madeleine. They have the full attention of some of Indiana's most admired musical figures - note Paul Mahern as their manager/"discoverer," Kenny Childers as their songwriting partner and Asthmatic Kitty as their label. At last count, they've premiered new videos on more than five different outlets in the last few weeks, briefly toured Europe and had their full album streamed on The New York Times' website. At this point - just one short year into making music together - they're poised to do just about anything they want.

And what they seem to want is to move very slowly, very deliberately. Any other group garnering as much buzz would have played dozens of shows in their hometown by now. But I can count the number of headlining shows the duo has played on both hands.

That slowness, that low gear setting, shows on their first album, too. Opener "Sounds Like Somewhere," begins with the most gentle instrumental opening in recent memory. (In fact, I maintain that you could listen to the first 30 seconds without even knowing the music has started playing in the room. That's how light Madeleine's touch is.) The album's tracks are slow, but not labored. They're gentle, but not weak. And, like they sing on the excellent "Nothing But Time," they've got time to move slow if they want.

Standouts include first single "Devil We Know" and the swinging "Come To Me." Listen all the way through, as perhaps the best track on the album is the broody bonus track tacked on at the end. As on their EP, The Weight of The World, the girls' singular talent - their harmonies - shine brightest against spare, quiet instrumentation.

And a final note on that significant promotional push: there's a major difference between hyped and hype-worthy, and I truly believe Lily and Madeleine are the real deal.

Earlier this week, fellow Asthmatic Kitty-er Sufjan Stevens quipped "Lily and Madeleine 4EVR" on his Tumblr page, which is otherwise used for Miley Cyrus open letters and releases of old demos. That's the same Sufjan that the sisters wondered in our September cover story if they'd ever get to meet. Things are moving fast for Lily and Madeleine. But, as their latest album shows, they're content to take it slow.


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