The Pierces

You & I

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Having virtually abandoned their musical ambitions following the failure of 2007's Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge to break through to the mainstream (despite exposure on U.S. teen dramas Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars), Alabama sisters Catherine and Allison, aka the Pierces, earned a last-minute reprieve when Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman not only offered them a support slot on his band's South American tour, but also later volunteered his services as producer for their unexpected fourth studio album, You & I. Like bandmate Chris Martin's extracurricular efforts with Jamelia, Natalie Imbruglia, and Beverley Knight, Berryman's talents lend themselves well to female-fronted pop as the layers of '70s-inspired acoustics, subtle orchestral arrangements, and soft rock rhythms provide the perfect foil for the duo's polished harmonies, which owe more than a nod to the free-spirited dream pop of the Mamas & the Papas ("Kissing You Goodbye"), the Rumours-era AOR of Fleetwood Mac ("It Will Not Be Forgotten"), and the impassioned alt-country of former touring partner Lissie ("You'll Be Mine"). But while the likes of the highly spiritual "Glorious," a rollicking fusion of hippie-ish jangly guitars and foot-stomping beats, the string-soaked vintage soul-pop of "Close My Eyes," and the gorgeously autumnal closer "I Put Your Records On" seem destined to fill the Radio 2 airwaves for months on end, the siblings' bid for stardom appears to have eradicated their previous sense of mischief, which set them apart from their contemporaries. Indeed, only the gothic folk of "Love You More" (which features Strokes guitarist and Catherine's ex Albert Hammond Jr.), the potential Tarantino soundtrack number "The Good Samaritan," and the hazy Americana of "Space & Time" show any indication that this is the same band whose previous videos have seen them satirize the fashionista scene and pose as murderous Blair Witch-esque villains. But after a decade of struggling to make an impression with their quirky brand of alt-folk, no one can blame the pair for aiming straight for the jugular, and with its authentic Woodstock vibes, You & I should see the girls deservedly leave the last chance saloon for good.

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