THE ACCIDENTALS – Bitter Sweet (Self Released)

AccidentalsNot to be confused with the New York a capella choir (or indeed several others) of the same music terminology name, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are a pair of Michigan high school multi-instrumentalists (cello, violin, piano, ukulele and glockenspiel all loom large) who share lead (both have an engagingly sweet trill, though Susannah’s is possibly the huskier) and harmonies on an infectious, upbeat 15 track collection of indie folk.

This is their second album in as many years and, while most of the tracks are fleshed out by a variety of other musicians providing the likes of bass, drums and keys, it’s the girls, who also arrange their own material, who hold everything together.

If you’re seeking comparisons, then perhaps a cocktail of The Roches, First Aid Kit, early Indigo Girls, Regina Spektor  and Juliana Hatfield might be a reasonable description; as both the finding love in the grocery aisle tale, Miso Soup (one of the two tracks featuring just the duo), and clattery stomp Grisly Bear show, they certainly share the sense of playfulness and fun that characterises all of the above.

They offer plenty of variety too, opening with the bustling ‘The Silence’ and fluidly flitting from the breathy  title track’s jazzy shaker percussion sway and the swampy blues ‘Ghost Of A Lie’ to the pizzicato folk pop of ‘Brake’, the sparse acoustic ‘Golden Lantern’’s cobwebby mood and the languidly narcotic, slow waltzing ‘Lemons In Chamomile’.

As if their musical talents weren’t precocious enough for their young age (both come from musical families), they’re also accomplished songwriters, although Buist’s more melancholic, reflective offers take the lion’s share of the credits with particular highlights being the emotional vulnerability of  the strings-brushed ‘Bulletproof Glass’, the anti-war themed ‘Blessed’ and ‘City Of Cardboard’ where she sings “One day it’ll burn and the lesson you’ll learn is your paper holds nothing but words and records.”

They graduate in May, after which time they’ll be setting off to spread the word with a summer tour of Europe. I’d recommend keeping a sharp eye out for the dates, these girls are going to become very much in demand.

Mike Davies