Joseph - I'm Alone, You're Not Alone
I'm Alone, No You're Not is the second album from Joseph, a trio of sisters from Portland, Oregon following in the footsteps of Haim and Hanson. These girls have a bit more of an alt-pop sensibility, unsurprising considering the album is produced by Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis. But it's certainly in their favour, something immediately shown via the strong and infectious opener 'Canyon'. The sisters' strength lies in the vocals; all three (Natalie, Allison, and Meegan) play instruments too, but their voices are a dominant force across the album but particularly in the fantastic 'Blood & Tears'.
It's not a gimmick though, the three sibling deal is less important than how good these songs are. There's a feeling of honesty and maturity here perhaps missing from similar bands, albeit undoubtedly due to the sisters' older age; it feels fresher, less like a crutch. And from that you get tracks like 'Planets', with a pseudo-religious tone, or the alt-country 'I Don't Mind'.
While all sing, Natalie is the lead (and started the band after going for a solo career) and she has an exceptional voice that anchors the songs, allowing Allison and Meegan to accentuate it with complementing tones. 'White Flag' is the perfect example of this, with Meegan and Allison's humming backing up Natalie's vulnerable vocal, and it sounds amazing. Their Twitter profile boasts 'genetically perfect harmonies' and it's not far off really.
Maybe Ryan Adams should have waited for this instead of redoing 1989, this is better and much more tuned to his sensibilities. It really is a fantastic album, emphasis on the album, while certain songs standout it's not so much that it makes the others feel like they're on a lesser tier. One thing about the album is how suited it might be to a full acoustic performance, while Mogis' production thickens the tracks out, some may benefit even more from being stripped down. But that's besides the point, I'm Alone, No You're Not is essential.
Guest review by Charlie Brigden from Films On Wax