Pascal Pinon

Twosomeness

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AllMusic Review by

After releasing an enchanting self-titled debut album in 2010, Pascal Pinon pared down from a quartet to just the twin sisters Jófríður and Ásthildur for their 2013 follow-up Twosomeness. Though they may have fewer members now, the album has a much richer sound. Instead of sounding like it was recorded in a bedroom, with everyone playing and singing quietly so as not to disturb anyone else in the house, now it sounds like they are recording quietly in a studio. With the help of producer Alex Sommers (who has worked with fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós,) the duo adds a wider array of instruments and fills up the arrangements with sound, surrounding their fragile but emotionally power voices with an bewitching array of sounds and feelings. Ranging from tender lullabies ("Evgeny Kissin," "Rifrildi") to surging ballads that wouldn't sound out of place on a Björk album ("When I Can't Sleep," "Kertið") to atmospheric, slightly unsettling torch songs built around unexpected instruments and home-made sounding loops ("Sumarmál," "Bloom"), and a bubbling pop song that sounds like the theme song to the best Icelandic coming of age movie ever filmed ("Ekki Vanmeta"), the album has a wider reach than the debut and sounds much more assured musically. Despite the increased skill the sisters exhibit, the songs still sound very magical and wrapped in warm, slightly sad mystery, but are much more accessible this time around, making it that much easier to fall under the spell they cast. If they get much slicker and/or produced, it may be too much and they will lose the hand-crafted appeal they have on Twosomeness. For now, though, they have just the right blend of innocence and professionalism to make the album sound just right.

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