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Ethereal harmonies slip from my speakers as The Pierces begin with ‘Creation,’ the title track of their brand new album and a love song of epic pop proportions. The Los Angeles born sisters, Catherine and Allison Pierce, inject all their optimism and heartfelt yearning for love into their fifth studio album with dazzling effect, as shown in this first track.
At first glance, the lyrics to the opening song are run-of-the-mill pop, comparing a loved one to everything in existence. However, the echoing production and the harmonising vocals lend a tenderness to the words that express a deeper sentimentality, displaying a rawness to the song’s emotion: the simple lyrics “you can never get enough” and “maybe you believe in love” together portray a tautness in the performance, hinting at a strained longing for requited affection and the pain of another’s ignorance.
‘Kings’ (the second track and released alongside track four ‘Believe In Me’ as one of two singles) is a seductive affair, contrasting with the declaration of love conveyed in the previous track. The duo’s harmonised “you know, you know” lyrics are simple yet effective in causing the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle, their sultry tones building to the earth-shattering chorus of echoing drum beats and cries of regal authority. The song celebrates rising up over adversity, urging us to hold onto those true friendships we encounter in the desolate carnival of life.
Track five, ‘Come Alive,’ is a stunning song and perhaps my favourite on the whole album. Allison Pierce’s husky tones and descending harmonies most certainly bring this track to life, allowing the song title’s hook in the chorus to become increasingly catchy by the outro. The inclusion of synthesisers harks back to the days of eighties pop and subtly weaves itself through the layers of the track, yet is gently sure to not interrupt the powerful vocals. The song itself is an ode to the small things of a relationship, the secrets of lovers known only by themselves, revelling in the darkness of a person’s true character, revealed with trust to the one they love.
The album’s denouement, ‘Flesh and Bone,’ is a slightly disappointing ending to what is ultimately a very good album. It did not build upon the solid foundations laid by the previous tracks and ultimately felt like a very safe, and consequently bland, inclusion. The lyrics have inflammatory statements such as “rough me up” in relation to the point that “new love is not best love” that attempts to raise the song above what it is – which is really a generic pop song about love. With a runtime of around four minutes and 40 seconds the song is slow and overlong, taking no chances with a melody that sounds like a less interesting version of those from previous tracks. It is a shame, especially when it is the end of such a promising piece of work.
At 13 tracks, Creation is a brilliant effort which should have been limited to around nine or 10 tracks. If it had, it would have been a delight from start to finish, yet there were some slight falterings here and there in terms of the actual creativity of the songwriting. Creation is much more pop-orientated than some of their previous work; songs like ‘Glorious’ and ‘You’ll Be Mine’ from their last album (both reflecting the band’s potential) being grounded in a more folk-alternative sound. Creation seems to be a more calculated attempt of breaking into the charts which was perhaps limiting at times; however, songs like ‘Come Alive’ are beautiful efforts which prove that, even in a commercial context, the Pierces can still impress and enamour. 8/10
The Pierces will be playing Manchester Academy 2 on September 21st. Tickets are available here.