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It’s kinda weird that we’re 14 days into 2016 and Sister Act hasn’t been on free-to-air TV yet. To be fair, I haven’t seen Cool Runnings or Mrs. Doubtfire pop up yet either, and The Wedding Singer has only been on once so far, which is a little surprising.
But today we’ll try to stave off those Whoopi Goldberg withdrawals with a sister act that you probably haven’t heard before: it’s Lily and Grace Richardson, who’ve banded together to form the super-new sister duo CLEWS.
The Bee Gees. INXS. AC/DC. It seems keeping it in the family works for Aussie bands, and the warm harmonies of sister duo CLEWS is no exception to the fact.
Hailing from South Coast NSW, Lily and Grace have been singing together pretty much since they could talk. We’ve previously heard some sounds from Lily, having released her debut album Falling and the Leaves that Followed back in 2011 when she was just 15.
As triple j Unearthed’s Dave Ruby Howe put it, Lily’s voice has “matured impressively” since then. And as I put it, she’s Washo Jr. Yep, Megan Washington was the first person I thought of upon hearing the beautiful harmonies of Lily and Grace. Though CLEWS exists more in the folksy realm, their vocal harmonies provide that same warmth, jazzy effortlessness and competing elements of light and dark that Washington has made characteristic of her indie pop tunes over the years.
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It’s a sound that CLEWS have crafted from an alchemy of influences, ranging from iconic ‘80s and ‘90s rock acts like Crowded House and Oasis, to legendary female vocalists like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, to the more contemporary sounds of Josh Pyke and our old mate from Canadia, Mac DeMarco. Despite being pretty fresh on the scene, CLEWS have already blessed us with a few] really nice demo tracks ahead of the debut single they’ll be dropping this year.
The girls seem equally comfortable using an acoustic or electric guitar as the foundation for their self-described “honest ballads with big harmonies.” Their track Make Changes paints a really nice sound-scape with some layered acoustic sounds and Lily and Grace’s voices combining throughout. In Take It Slow, we’re left with just Lily’s voice against the stark sounds of an oscillating electric guitar. Both tracks exhibit some simple yet strong songwriting and make for some chilled out listening.
But they’re also not afraid to do some interesting and more experimental things with their music. Underwater, the latest posting on their SoundCloud page, starts off with this really brief, five-second intro before launching into the first verse, as if we’re picking up on the song from a bridge midway through. However, that jarring feeling we have after being thrust into the song completely dissolves when Lily’s drifty vocals kick in.
With exciting things happening with CLEWS in 2016, it’s worth keeping an eye on their SoundCloud and Unearthed profiles, as you can expect a few more promising demos and a debut single at some point this year.
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