The Pierces, Union Chapel, London
What is it about siblings singing together? Sisters Allison and Catherine Pierce follow in a tradition that includes the Proclaimers, the Everly Brothers and the Unthanks, as singers whose voices blend together with apparent ease thanks (probably) to genetic closeness.
This pair of mid-thirties gals from Birmingham, Alabama seem thoroughly at home at the beautiful Union Chapel, which is still a working church, tonight. “It’s so good to see you in the Lord’s house,” Catherine gushes. “Is this music appropriate for the Lord? All music is, he doesn’t mind.”
Both sisters dress in long, flowing frocks; blonde Catherine in bridal white and brunette Allison in black. The product of hippie parents, their loyalty to old-school country music and americana shines through, but during a set which consisted mostly of material from their new album, You & I, they produce a rockier, more polished sound than of old.
You & I, their fourth studio album, was produced by Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman. The sisters credit Berryman with “saving them from extinction” after a decade of trying, but failing, to make it. Berryman made them his first project as producer, invited them to support Coldplay and helped them to some much-needed commercial success, with You & I peaking at number four in the UK album charts last year.
Starting with a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”, the singers’ change of direction from traditional folk heartbreak, to a funkier, more produced sound was clear. But luckily their meaty harmonising still cuts a punch, particularly on “Love You More” and the excellent “It Will Not Be Forgotten”.
They played “Sticks and Stones” from Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge. Despite being a mysterious, gypsy beat, story-teller of a track, it is a reminder of why their lovelorn foot-tapping style didn't quite work for a wider audience. Another low point was a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”, which started badly with a tambourine beat mix-up, before being disappointingly dirge-like and screechy. But their take on Simon & Garfunkel's “Kathy’s Song” was much more pleasing.
Sisterly rivalry does show itself. Catherine dominates the vocals and the spotlight in her bright white dress. Their spoken voices are so similar it is sometimes hard to tell which one is speaking. Swaying, shaking tambourines and playing acoustic guitar they remain old-fashioned folkies despite Berryman’s influence. Finishing with four encores, including “Boring”, it was unclear which direction they would go in next.
This article features Listen with Spotify
1. Enjoy The Silence
2. Love You More
4. Drag You Down
5. Kissing You Goodbye
6. Piece Of You
7. Sticks And Stones
9. Close My Eyes
10. Come As You Are
11. City On Fire
12. Space And Time
13. We Are Stars
14. You'll Be Mine
1. Kathys Song
3. No Rain
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove