Woozy folk pop just doesn’t get its due anymore. I’m not sure it ever did, to be honest, but if there was ever a time to revive (or invent) the genre, now is the moment. The Living Sisters are evangelists to a genre not yet fully conceived. Drifting around aimlessly, but equally as one, the three non-sisters of the band are moulded perfectly to fit the empty, soundless period lazing around the house, between meals on a Sunday afternoon. An unmistakable air of the 1950s wafts around the record, warm and homely and accented by soft twangs of guitar.
An unusual sort of a supergroup, The Living Sisters consist of The Bird and the Bee’s Inara George, Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark and singer-songwriter Elena Mandell, and specialise in the sort of pleasantly non-ironic pop that Les Paul and Mary Ford used to hold monopoly over. The sweet naivety of the group comes across in ‘Cradle’, which features a twee message shared between bandmates halfway though; on ‘You Make Me Blue’ the band back their vocals with charming ‘Shoo-bop-doo-wop’s.
There’s a timelessness in Love To Live. Though the lyrics are already in some ways dated (city folk and the modern world are becoming increasingly segregated from worlds in which blacksmiths still work). In a sense, of course, writing in already archaic terms places the music in an outdated world before it’s even played out for the first time, and unlike the once-modern songs that fade into our memories, these already old songs can soak into us as if they were the songs our mothers used to sing, the lullabies to nights we never saw.
Love To Live is, in many ways, almost perfect. Uniquely placed amongst other current releases, The Living Sisters may not have the broadest commercial appeal but they certainly have the broadest appeal emotionally. Everybody needs music like this — reflective and soothing woozy folk-pop that harmonises and procrastinates. This is Sunday afternoon music, but it would take no great push or will to place it as Sunday morning music, too — or Saturday, or Tuesday, or just about any other time when you need a break from the world.
Words: Stephen Thomas