November 2nd, 2015 | Album reviews

The Chapin Sisters
Today’s Not Yesterday
Lake Bottom Records

Over a decade ago, I walked into the Echo and feel immediately in love with these voices calling to me across the darkened room—the voices of three siren sisters who had sultry alto harmonies so tight, they hurt my heart. (I almost didn’t notice they were playing tricky guitar and banjo parts at the same time.) I’ve been chasing that emotional high ever since, but being a Chapin Sisters fan is excruciating, since they record only sporadically and are more comfortable doing covers of Britney Spears and the Everly Brothers than writing solid material of their own. Since the departure of sister Jessica Craven in 2010 (“Craven” because she’s Lily and Abigail Chapin’s half sister, the daughter of the Freddy Krueger guy instead of the “Cats in the Cradle” guy’s brother), Lily and Abigail have taken turns singing lead. I admit to being slightly more on Team Lily: her country-ish breakup track “Love Come Back” may be the best on the new album, with a sultry, almost slurred vocal that’s naive at the same time, like if Paul Williams and Jessica Harper’s characters from Phantom of the Paradise had actually found genuine love and sired a daughter who’s now having boy troubles: “I can’t sleep without you because that’s when the demons come. And I hurt myself like you hurt me / you showed me how it’s done.” But every track on the album is a triumphant return to what we really want: a 70s Troubadour sound that never really existed but had really good pedal steel guitar and organs when it did. And ohhhhh, those sinfully good harmonies. Prepare to lose your soul.

—D.M. Collins