Record Review - 1 September 23 2004

Between their lilting choruses and stunning good looks, Catherine and Allison Pierce, who record as the Pierces, are sure to be a hit with both the post-Lilith Fair and horny young teenager sets. The Pierces are the home-schooled children of right-brained Alabama hippies who encouraged artful expression. After both spent time as professional ballet dancers, the toll on the girls' bodies was too much. So they hit the Starbucks circuit. And when two young ladies this fetching are playing anything that is half-competent in public, the record labels will come sniffing around. Their self-titled first album, released in 2000 on Sony, went nowhere. They moved to Universal to put out Light of the Moon, and the results show that there might be more to this duo than just eye candy.

In simple terms, it's a straightforward but effective formula: pretty girls making pretty music. Mix soft verses and heartfelt choruses with interweaving harmonies, add some acoustic chords and Saran Wrap it in Pro Tools sheen, courtesy of Brian Sperber, whose handiwork has graced records from Dinosaur Jr. to Feeder to Patti Smith. Harmony is the secret weapon here: The ladies are verifiable experts in finding complementary notes and that ability is their stock-in-trade (besides their looks).

With a faint Faith Hill Southern twang to each of their voices, the sisters tackle love, loss and the wonders of the night sky. Truth be told, there is no deep connection to be forged with the lyrics — the enjoyment is in the audible performance. But when it comes to superficial enjoyment, the Pierces hit all the right frequencies.

-- Nikhil Swaminathan
The Pierces play the Echo Lounge Tues., Sept. 28, 9 p.m. $8.