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Twin hopes refine their big idea
Craig Fitzpatrick, 13 Sep 2012
Four years on from their debut Here, Not There – a slow burner that ignited after Discover Ireland capitalised on the contagious vigour of ‘Remember When’ – it’s no surprise to find Heathers have moved on. Twins Ellie and Louise Macnamara were 17 and still in school when their last batch was cooked up, meaning there’s a new maturity here and plenty of references to that transitionary period into adulthood.
Their lyrics, however, are still dominated by a restlessness, a desire to keep moving. They always sound ready to take flight. In their early 20s, they still haven’t found what they’re looking for, which can only be a good thing. So we go on a journey with them in Kingdom and it’s a testament to their writing chops that it is compelling for the duration. The first half introduces a few new manoeuvres, but essentially follows a similar course to previous excursions – strident playing topped with the girls singing in unison, moving from melodic hook to hook. The architecture has scarcely changed but the furnishings have been updated, so that those dual harmonies and battered acoustics now sit amidst piano, strings and electronic flashes.
By the midway point, single ‘Forget Me Knots’, there’s a feeling that they need to change gear. Meanwhile, the earwormy wordless vocal ‘woah ohs’ find them going fully Kooks-ian (and you should never go fully Kooks-ian!). Thankfully from there on, pop sensibilities proven, that gear change happens. ‘We Burn Bridges’ ushers in some mournful keys of the ‘Video Games’ ilk, ‘Listen Don’t Speak’ offers more inventive, intricate vocal interplay than ever before, ‘Find A Way’ captures the spirit of Florence and the meditative closer ‘Flight’ seems a million miles from where the sisters began. But the standout track is undoubtedly ‘Gather Up’. It takes them to a dark yet inviting place and suggests hidden depths. Synths pulse through its centre as ethereal voices float overheard. You suddenly realise why David Guetta’s been eyeing them up for his new album. Not that they need him. On this evidence, the future, both commercially and artistically, looks bright for Heathers. Wherever they head next, we’ll be following closely.