The Casket Girls

True Love Kills the Fairy Tale

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The Casket Girls' 2012 debut, Sleepwalking, was a darkly haunted affair, its creepy textures and cemetery-at-midnight harmonies the result of a chance meeting between Black Moth Super Rainbow's Ryan Graveface and sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene. Graveface gave the relative strangers a stack of instrumentals he'd been working on and the sisters fleshed them out into full-on songs with their dour lyrical imagery and untrained, homespun melodies. For second album True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, the trio repeated this somewhat unorthodox creative process, again calling on drummer TW Walsh to play live percussion over Graveface's roller-rink electronic rhythms. True Love Kills the Fairy Tale retains some of the spooky, misty, ghost-in-the-graveyard qualities of its predecessor, but the overall feel is far more dreamy and textural, offering something more spirited than emotionally uneasy. Built on an overused, grating Casio rhythm preset, album opener "Same Side" immediately transcends its played-out musical backdrop with Elsa and Phaedra's searching harmonies and interlocking vocal melodies. The songs have a heightened drive this time around, with choruses to tunes like "Chemical Dizzy" and the brilliant title track having an almost anthem-like catchiness. Always singing in tandem, with off-kilter lyrics about everything from doing drugs to daily living triggering oppressive ennui, the Greene sisters seem almost detached from Graveface's increasingly synth pop instrumentals. While the songs on True Love Kills the Fairy Tale are solid as is, the melodies and vocal arrangements are so strong, one wonders what they'd be like dropped somewhere other than atop Graveface's watery vintage synth-based instrumentals. Exciting and moving, the songs on True Love Kills the Fairy Tale would work just as well stripped-down and spare as they do in the intricately produced electro-pop forms presented here.

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