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The Secret Sisters

Saturn Return – 2020 (New West)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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Building off the framework built on their critically acclaimed 2017 release, "You Don't Own Me Anymore," The Secret Sisters, (sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers), return with "Saturn Return." Joined again by musical friends Brandi Carlile and Carlile band mates Phil Hanseroth, and Tim Hanseroth in the production booth, the duo lays out an album that delivers big on soulful harmonies, honest lyricism and an eclectic folk, pop and country soundscape.

Featuring 10 tightly knit songs that at first listen almost lay out too homogeneously, repeated listens find subtle nuances that set each track apart. With opener "Silver" and its nod to motherhood, the sister's tight harmonies step forward from the get go, anchored by a shuffling folk country backdrop while "Late Bloomer" finds the two stepping into a '70s styled torch song template, recalling the great songs of Carole King and more.

"Cabin" serves to make its name known as a true highlight, the moody arrangement perfectly angled to capture poignant lyrics of pain and abuse while "Hand Over My Heart" finds a glimmer of hope amidst a layer of dreamy indie pop and folk. Giving way to warm folk tones and smooth harmonies that paint powerful pictures, pictures that draw one into the song's question of how one life can be blessed and another damned before opening up into the almost mournful waltz of "Tin Can Angel."

Lyrical honesty colors in the lines of "Nowhere, Baby," complete with an almost sorrowful call and response echo in the chorus as the tandem sing of life and love, heartache and pain before giving way to a resonant vocal production on the stripped down "Hold You Dear," the lyric bittersweet and powerful. A moody darkness overwhelms another highlight track in "Water Witch," both women's voices standing tall and strong with a seductive tale of destruction before hope again rears its head on the acoustically driven "Healer in the Sky."

Armed with an honesty in their songwriting that is both artistic and accessible and accenting it with arguably some of the finest vocal harmonies today, "Saturn Return" showcases The Secret Sisters at their best.