The Pierces - Creation (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
HAVING dazzled with their cracking fourth album, You & I, Alabama-raised sisters The Pierces now return with yet another treat.
Described as a natural step on from that previous LP, Creation retain the breezy, melodious charm of their previous work while injecting a world-wise, sun-drenched sparkle to proceedings.
Hence, the folk-tinged indie-pop that helped turn so many heads with tracks like You’ll Be Mine and Glorious remain intact, as do the retro qualities that garner comparisons with the likes of classic Fleetwood Mac.
Here, though, they add a greater electronic component at certain points, while stripping others right down to delicate slow-burning moments of beautiful intimacy.
The journey to the creation of the record is a story in itself. As their touring schedule wound down from You & I, the sisters found themselves living on opposite sides of the globe: Allison splitting her time between London and New York and Catherine in Los Angeles.
When Allison joined her, they turned their sights to the new record. Determined to enter bold new territory, they enlisted a shaman who guided them on a spiritual journey in which they took ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic brew that allows its drinker to peer behind the curtain of their soul. It was designed to teach them a little more about themselves and it helped to create an older, wiser approach to songwriting.
That’s not to say the result is overtly trippy, psychedelic or even pretentious… far from it. The songs here are immediately accessible and almost always great.
Hence, album opener and title track Creation is enlivened by an insistent electronic hook, a sweeping chorus that makes the most of their sugar-rush vocals, and an effortless appeal that rises above being merely disposable pop.
Kings, another former single, builds towards a regal chorus that drips with beautiful vocal harmonies, as well as some sharp stabs of guitar and epic drum layering. It’s a bit of a blockbuster.
And I Can Feel drops in another blissful chorus that even, dare I say, hints at Abba (but in a good, timeless way). The vocal combination is entirely disarming, while the melodies are tight and crowd-pleasing. You can well imagine swaying along to this one in live form.
Believe In Me similarly intoxicates with the type of chorus that becomes utterly addictive. But if the album is largely reliant on a breezy, folk-pop style to this point, then some grit arrives in the form of Honest Man, which introduces a slightly edgier guitar riff to go with its melodic sweep. Again, though, the chorus is deliciously served up, albeit with a smooth, even vaguely haunted set of vocals (with a bittersweet undertow).
Must Be Something combines lush vocals with a quasi-French pop sound that is almost Serge Gainsbourg-esque (mixed with that Abba vibe again), while Monsters adopts another of the album’s darker sounds courtesy of the childhood memories of monsters under the bed (until they were converted by music). It’s the closest the album comes to that trippiness suggested by the sisters’ research and soul-searching. But it also contributes to one of the album’s out and out highlights.
Elsewhere, Confidence in Love almost flirts with a Pixies-esque riff before drifting seamlessly into something achingly disarming (the chorus is, again, sublime), while The One I Want is filled with a yearning that is palpable (and delivered in a suitably dusky, moody style).
Finally, the album is rounded off in stunning fashion with the slow-burning, imtimately constructed Flesh And Bone, which melts the heart with its devastating simplicity (a sultry vocal laid over a finger-click beat and some subtle electronics). It’s a cracking finale to a really great return from The Pierces. You won’t want it to end.
Download picks: Creation, I Can Feel, Flesh And Bone, Honest Man, Monsters, Confidence in Love