I first became aware of The Pierces after one of their songs, 'Secret', was featured as the theme tune to the teen drama show 'Pretty Little Liars'. When I googled for some information about the band I found out that the group was comprised of sisters Catherine and Alison Pierce. I was surprised to find that they had been producing albums since 2000 but they had recently thought of going their seperate ways until brought back together by Coldplay star Guy Berryman. Despite having been around for some time the sisters are now about to break out in a huge way onto the music scene in the UK and you may have heard their ubiquitous new single 'You'll Be Mine' playing on your local radio station with their fourth album due to be released in May 2011. 'Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge' is Catherine and Alison's third album and comprises of thirteen 3-4 minute tracks.
I find The Pierces very interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are not teenagers and I enjoy the sound of their voices as they have a more mature sound to them. Catherine seems to take the lead on most tracks as her voice sounds like a high pitched bell and is full of light and life whilst Alison has a sensual, husky voice perfect for backing vocals and one that compliments the voice of her sister. The voices alone are both wonderful: Catherine can tease and excite whilst Alison tends to have a voice that lulls and relaxes. Together though, the voices are perfect and seem to be created to harmonise with each other. I also love how The Pierces approach music and their style. Catherine is all lipstick and toxic blonde whilst Alison is a background brunette. They toy with their image, dressing up and inventing different characters for every song they perform. They remind me of the heroines of some strange David Lynch movie.
'Secret' is track one on the album and it's one of my favourites. The song has been featured in a couple of TV shows because the meaning of the lyrics are so provocative. Catherine sing's this along to the carnivale-esque music as though she is a warped woman. She sings "two can keep a secret if one of them is dead" and in the video for the song Alison plays dead in the background after seemingly being murdered for telling Catherine's awful secret. The middle of the song features an amusing conversation where the two women seemingly bond over their secrets. The song is both amusing and creepy, making me smile whilst giving me a chill down my spine! Check out the credits for 'Pretty Little Liars' for a shortened version and a perfect representation of the song.
Track two, 'Boring' is another fantastic track. The song seems to be a comment on a particular breed of woman. The Pierces reel off a whole load of 'goodies' and perks (such as 'cocaine, Don Perignon, love of my life') which are then criticised as being 'boring'. "Nothing thrills us anymore...life is such a chore..." are some of the chorus lyrics. It's an amusing song as I feel the sentiments expressed are actually very accurate to describe our 'want, want, want' generation.
'Sticks and Stones' has an upbeat style and is fast paced and frantic. The women express their sexuality in this track and I like their confidence and domineering attitudes. It's a catchy, lively song that I really like to sing along to.
'Lights On' is a sexy, sensual and naughty song. The verses are slow, steamy and beautiful and the music features the voices prominantly. The chorus is more upbeat and the lyrics are somewhat provocative, referring to a same-sex relationship and in-the-bedroom antics.
'Lies' has an interesting and unusual style. It has shades of a Eurovision song about it in the sense that it sounds somewhat like a European folk song and features a funky percussion pattern and some Middle Eastern tinkering. The way the voices soar and sink in this track is astonishing and The Pierces are totally captivating and passionate, with layers of vocal sound piercing through the instrumentals.
'Turn On Billie' has a cute perky style and there is a jazz band presence. The song has a playful bounce and the lyrics are fun. The ladies sing "When we are bad we are very bad, so bad.." and sort of tease their sexuality throughout. The title is a reference to the music of Billie Holiday.
'Ruin' is quite dark and feels like a thick and muggy slow rock song. It's performed by Alison whose voice is noticably more serious and has a frightening fragility that makes her seem a bit dangerous and desperately sad. It's a beautiful, poignant song with unsettling lyrics.
'Three Wishes' is a peaceful and enchanting song that stirs up a kind of nostalgia in me. It's thought-provoking and spiritual and the voices on the song have a sort of angelic tone to them. The lyrics are intelligent, sad and very beautiful.
'Power Of' sounds like a Sheryl Crow number as it's quite bluesy and the vocal is sleepy and sensual. It's not my favourite song on the album as I find it a bit weary sounding.
'Kill, Kill, Kill' is an amusing and lively track that I feel is what the Pierces do best. The song swings along with a banjo, swishing hi-hats and chant-like backing vocals that brighten the sound and alongside the excited vocals we have random pussycat mewing. An enjoyable and unusual track.
'It was You' is a pretty and thoughtful track whose lyrics are insightful and intelligence. I love the chorus questioning of "Where would you go and what would you do, if it wasn't me, it was you?".
'Boy in A Rock and Roll Band' has sort of a 1920's vibe to it with a neat little jazz band sound and easy, sugary feminine vocals. When I hear this it transports me to a completely different time period as it sounds so different to the music I'm used to hearing nowadays.
'Go To Heaven' is a beautiful and romantic track that sounds almost like a lullabuy. It's chorus echoes with tuneful wordless humming and what sound like a siren's song. It's captivating and slightly chilling as it's almost too beautiful. The melody at some points sounds a bit like Roy Orbison's 'Crying'.
Overall this a fantastic album by The Pierces that burns with originality and creativity. I'm still quite new to their music but I'm really looking forward to their next album on the strength of what I've heard so far. If I had to reccommend indiviudal tracks from this album I'd pick 'Secret', 'Turn On Billie', 'Sticks and Stones' and 'Boring' although it's terribly hard to pick favourites from this bunch of wonderful songs.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Sticks and Stones
4 Lights On
6 Turn On Billie
8 Three Wishes
9 The Power of...
10 Kill! Kill! Kill!
11 It Was You
12 Boy In A Rock and Roll Band
13 Go To Heaven