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Album review: The Living Sisters' 'Love to Live'

March 30, 2010 | 10:33 am

Living_sisters_240_  This utterly charming debut from L.A. indie music pals Inara George (The Bird and the Bee), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Eleni Mandell may warrant the creation of a new life category: triplets separated at birth. OK, so it's not going to get a lot of use, but the empathetic symbiosis at play in these 10 sweetly ethereal performances deserves some kind of category of its own.

The closest pop antecedent for the ersatz sibling harmonizing over endearingly low-fi subject matter going on here would be that of the Roches, bona fide biological sisters. Mandell's "Ferris Wheel" dreamily elegizes that boardwalk thrill of yore.

There are songs about babies and cradles -- no great leap given that George was pregnant while they were working on the CD. Some are engagingly innocent, some are gently sexy, as the trio members weave together '40s pop vocalizing, '50s doo-wop, jazz, folk and country elements in a seamless mélange.

In fact, the whole outing feels like a throwback to a time and place in American culture that probably never actually existed, yet it's no less rewarding to revel in music that imagines it did. It's lightweight, but so is a perfect soufflé.

The threesome has been performing around the Southland on and off for years, and whether this moonlighting project has a recording future beyond this effort is anybody's guess. The great thing about today's age of unhinged music-making is that quirky one-offs like this can crop up and live for precisely as long as they need to.

-- Randy Lewis

The Living Sisters
"Love to Live"
(Vanguard)
Three stars (Out of four)

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