Album Review: Heathers – Here, Not There
Formed in 2008, twin sisters Louise and Ellie Macnamara make up the Irish duo, Heathers. A new yet already popular staple on the current Irish folk scene, the duo have this week released their debut record titled Hear, Not There.
The duo capitalize on the current popularity of folk singers causing a stir within the mainstream that are making it a cool genre to have blaring from the stereo speakers these days with the likes of Lissie, Kassidy, Ed Harcourt, Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale all leading the way for today’s indie folk resurgence.
Combining some rare musical delicacies with the twins harmonized vocal pairings, Here, Not There unfortunately proves to be a bit of a hit and miss. Swaying between folk indulgence and intricate song writing gems to numbers that tend to wear you down quickly, the album lacks the consistency needed to make it one worth a second listen.
The opening number, Remember When, stands out as the fighter on the record. The thumping guitar work that introduces both the record opener and album is a fitting introduction for the sisters. The heavily Irish accented harmonizing of the duo works well and they produce some lifting hook laden lines throughout the number.
Following is the aggressive and angst fueled Honey Please. Rage is present in full force as the girls announce repeatedly ‘your lying’ throughout the tracks heart pounding chorus ensuring that no man is ever on the end of this bands fury. The melody is catchy and draws you in to the sisters sound and the feelings that the band is successfully capturing.
Slices of Palama is a charming number that features sweetly nearing the end of the record. The introduction of a haunting cello sitting modestly behind the quick strumming of the duo’s acoustic guitar create a warmth much needed at the later point of Here, Not There. The tone is also very different on this number compared to the surrounding numbers and gives the record a little more depth than previously heard from the band.
Here, Not There, although containing some infectious and angst driven gems, has several problems which flaws its makeup.
The first that I found with Here, Not There is the fact that the sisters do rely heavily on each other, at times to a very grinding point where the songs can start to grate on you if you listen to the record from start to end in one go. I found I had to take my time with the record so as to not overdo it and exhaust the record too quickly. The sisters harmonize well however throughout every track they sing every word together which becomes quite exasperating.
The girls also sound the same on every song. Each has the same tone and forced quality that grows stale very quickly and more so the further down the track-listing you get. The template is that one sister is whispery and hidden vocally behind the other who is almost screeching and vocally irritating. That sound never changes and by the time you get to the half way point you already feel the need to put the record to one side to pick up a week or so later.
Saying this however, if you are able to put those factors to one side, Here, Not There is a well constructed folk record that portrays the sisters as good songwriters with a great deal of potential.