Album Review

The Living Sisters, ‘Love to Live’

March 29, 2010

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“How Are You Doing’’ is a mere slip of a song, just a smidge over two minutes long, with a rising-and-falling guitar pattern and lyrics that don’t do much more than answer the title question. But the Living Sisters — Eleni Mandell, the Bird and the Bee’s Inara George, and Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark, all on a happy holiday from their regular gigs — work some kind of alchemy as each individually says hello in her own way when they’re not harmonizing like a Lawrence Welk Show sister act. Much of “Love to Live,’’ the group’s recorded debut after several years of casually knocking around in the LA music scene, simply luxuriates in the sound of three voices intertwining, whether they meld to form a lush bed in “Cradle’’ or fold over one another in “Hold Back.’’ (On the almost painfully pretty “This Mountain Has Skies,’’ they do both.) There’s an unforced, natural ease dripping from the songs, which sound like Western-accented pop music out of time. Even so, there’s still enough room for playfulness; when the Living Sisters build a chorus around a sweet refrain of “My baby ties me up in double knots,’’ it’s probably a metaphor for romantic frustration, but the verses offer enough details to suggest a more literal interpretation. “Love to Live’’ may seem too slight at 33 minutes and change, but that wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t so lovely to begin with. (Out tomorrow) -- MARC HIRSH

The Living Sisters, ‘‘Love to Live’’
Vanguard ESSENTIAL “Baby’’