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Album Review: Alex and Sierra – It’s About Us

3 min read

Hmm, talent shows. They are a fickle thing. On one hand, what gives an unknown artist better exposure? On the other, what gives an unknown artist more pressure? Without them we’d be without Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and One Direction. Or Susan Boyle. Or Casey Donovan. By the time the 2013 season of The X-Factor U.S.A rolled around I was well and truly over it and very much into more meaningful TV watching like So You Think You Can Dance and in particular Cat Deeley’s hair. So when my bestie told me I absolutely had to watch this cute young couple from X-Factor on Youtube I rolled my eyes. As a girl who is continuously under appreciated for her musical abilities, and single, why on earth would I want to see a gorgeous, happy young couple slaying their singing audition? Because they were singing Britney Spears? Oh.

Alex and Sierra It's About UsAnd so began my love affair with Alex and Sierra. Their version of Toxic was mind blowing, and they were so obviously in love I just wanted to hate them. But I couldn’t. The way he looked at her and her utter shock at how well they were received was so endearing it made me sick, and an immediate fan. They were talented and beautiful and funny and sweet and charming and sickening and perfect. And I wasn’t the only one to think so. Under the watchful eye of Simon Cowell they went on to take out the competition, and with it the burden of producing some serious money makers. But instead of hastily putting out a rushed single, the pair went into song-writing mode, taking their time and delivering something they are truly proud of. The result is their debut album, It’s About Us.

The record opens with their first single and my hands-down fave, Scarecrow. Kicking off with a Travelling Wilbury’s type strum of the guitar, the song moves into an almost call and repeat type structure between the strong, husky voice of Alex Kinsey and the sweet velvety sound of Sierra Deaton, before breaking into a big chorus of a perfectly balanced harmony and lots of “hey’s!” It’s the perfect song for Alex and Sierra and places them smack bang in the middle of the increasingly popular genre that is indie-pop. From there, It’s About Us takes us on a little tour through their world. There are interesting and emotional ballads with Bumper Cars calling on Christina Perry’s Jar Of Hearts and the It’s About Us Interlude alluding to Imogen Heap’s Hide And Seek. In contrast we have the foot-stomping Here We Go, the beautiful country twang in Almost Home and the jazzy horns of All For You. 

Where the album falters a little for me is in the production (not to mention Cheating which should have been omitted completely). Like 1D, the songs are lovely but almost too perfect. Where Alex and Sierra really won me over was in how real they were, flaws and all. If they can hold on to that, and the more indie side of indie-pop, we will see something truly special. It’s About Us is fun, and the vocals absolutely stunning, just a little confused. There are notes of Phillip Phillips, Sheppard, The Lumineers and Angus and Julia Stone. And that ain’t bad. For now it’s a really nice first effort, I just can’t wait for them to mature a little and really sink their teeth into the niche they truly shine in. But hey, I’m still a fan. And I still think they’re talented and beautiful and funny and sweet and charming and sickening and perfect.