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
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Thomas Heatherwick creates gin palace with a fantastical Willy Wonka vibe
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
The Lion King becomes biggest grossing musical ever
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God