Granted, homespun duos are nothing new. Ever since Johnny and June, George and Tammy, and Porter and Dolly began harmonizing together, singers of opposite genders have joined their voices in documenting the trials and travails of love in all its tattered glory. Me and Molly - A.K.A. Declan McGarry (vocals/keyboards/acoustic guitar) and Molly Stevens (vocals/acoustic guitar) along with an able cast of fellow travelers - mine those early precepts with an album that finds a welcome fit with those other duos that paved that tenuous path before.
Granted, Me and Molly aren't necessarily making new inroads here. Truth be told, for all the back and forth banter and shared expressions of romance, the pair aren't really involved romantically beyond the context of their songs. Likewise, the religious references that pop up on occasion - specifically in songs such as "Lord Help Me (Or Leave Me Alone)" and "Jesus Land" - suggest their concerns are both heavenly and temporal all at the same time, mitigating that gritty tension that those other duos wove so well. Still, the familiarity factor remains intact, and given that the album is titled "Old Friend," there's a critical connection as well.
Indeed, the synchronicity between McGarry and Stevens is the thing that carries the music forward and allows it to resonate particularly well. The harmonies are spot on, and when one of the two takes the lead, the other blends his or her voice in steady support. Whether it's the determined strum of "Oh Love" or the hushed desire expressed in "Wildflower," the compatibility weighs heavily. The competition is fierce these days, but Me and Molly not only hold their own, but excel at the same time. Like any old friend, this one clearly comes through.