The Chapin Sisters
There's a sinister tenderness to this L.A. trio's sad, soft, gorgeous folk.
By Jonathan Durbin
THE CHAPIN SISTERS
Lake Bottom LP (Plain Recordings)
There's a sinister tenderness to this L.A. trio's sad, soft, gorgeous folk. Comprised of Abigail and Lily Chapin (daughters of children's music notable Tom, nieces of '70s legendary Harry) and Jessica Craven (daughter of horror director Wes and, stepdaughter of Tom), the Chapin Sisters use eerie harmonies to great effect in the meditations on love lost and losing. Their full-length debut opens with all three singing in unison: "My baby hates me, and it's nobody's fault but mine." That track, "Let Me Go," sets the album's mood and tone -- think suicidal. There's "Kill Me Now," for instance, a tidily cheerless number on which they implore, "Don't want to live sad and lonely, no no/ So go get a rock and just stone me." Depressing, sure, but cathartic in a neurasthenic sort of way, too -- there's something enjoyable about the way the sisters spread their misery. Standouts include "Can't We Please," an appeal to an ex-boyfriend for mercy ("My demons they dance/On the bones of our romance"); "Don't Love You," in which they inform a potential suitor that, despite how they might act, they're not really interested in love, they're probably just drunk; and "Girlfriend," where they repeatedly explain to a crush how they "don't like your girlfriend." The stories marry well to their elegant balladry, and the sisters' neo-Victorian sensibilities add up to a lingering, almost ghostly result. This after-dark music that's meant to creep you out. And it does.