Jessie & Layla


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A press release that Allegro/Nail Distribution sent out with this 2006 recording/early 2007 release reads: "The intensity of harmonic power that emerges when Jessie & Layla's voices join together has not been experienced with this level of potency since the glory days of the '60s." So are we really expected to believe that all the vocal harmonies that were recorded in the '70s, '80s and '90s simply paled in comparison to the '60s and that harmony-wise, Jessie & Layla are the best thing to come along in at least 37 years? Talk about exaggerated, overblown hype! But while it is ridiculous to suggest that nothing from the '70s, '80s or '90s can measure up to Kinetic harmony-wise, there is no question that this is an excellent, highly rewarding debut. Jessie and Layla Collins, the Dublin, Ireland-based sisters who comprise this guitar-playing vocal duo, favor a psychedelic folk-rock approach that is greatly influenced by the '60s but not a carbon copy of the '60s. While this 44-minute CD owes a creative debt to the Mamas & Papas, the Strawbs, Sandy Denny, the Byrds, Fairport Convention and the Beatles, Jessie & Layla are not oblivious to the alternative pop/rock, shoegazer music and adult alternative of the '90s and 2000s; think of Kinetic as Haight-Ashbury, Venice Beach or London's West End circa 1968 (we're talking flower power and long, flowing peasant skirts) by way of Lush and the Cardigans (with a little Bangles-ish appeal as well). It's an intriguing mix of influences, but the Collins siblings have more going for them than an attractive, interesting sound -- they have strong material to back it up. Ethereal tracks like "Move On" and "Love Is on Its Way" point to the fact that Jessie & Layla are talented songwriters on top of being talented singers and talented guitarists. Kinetic is not the best folk-rock album to come along since the Vietnam War, but it is still a highly promising debut from this Irish twosome.

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