Catherine Pierce wrinkles her nose and laughs in response to a quote from the Guardian which called the sisters’ latest album, Creation, ‘silvery, spine-tingling soft rock.’ One of the many fascinating things about Allison and Catherine Pierce is that if their reviews are anything to go by, their music defies definition. It’s been called Folk, Indie, Soft Rock, Alt Rock and more, and what’s better; it’s not inaccurate.
The Pierces, who come from Birmingham Alabama, have not enjoyed a straightforward success story, but it is a success story nonetheless. Little known in America, they came to prominence in the UK as the darlings of BBC Radio 2. They’ve been interviewed by Dermot O’Leary, Terry Wogan, Simon Mayo and Chris Evans, and all this despite limited success across the pond. In 2011, they finally hit a well deserved big break with their album You & I, produced by Coldplay’s Guy Berryman and hitting number 4 in the UK Album Charts. Since then they’ve lived in New York, London, and, currently, Los Angeles.
After a mini tour in June: during which time they managed to fit in a quick live act on Chris Evans’ breakfast show, they returned on the back of their latest album, Creation, which was released on the 1st September this year. The sisters arrived in Cambridge two days before the end of their tour, which by all accounts was a great success. Indeed, the Pierces are a notoriously good live act, and it is a well-earned reputation. It is live that they’re able to showcase their musical dimension: swinging from Allison’s head banging through a tune that could be Classic Rock to Catherine’s closed eyes in the, indeed, spine-tingling, Elements, up there with the best of modern Folk and Indie music. It is here: far more so than in their albums, that the Pierces’ true range of ability is best portrayed, their music is lively and upbeat, it’s original, it’s harmonic and you never know where it’s going next. As it is, having seen them live, it’s hard not to note what sounds like over-production on their albums, to the detriment of real talent.
Despite the Junction being packed largely with balding, middle aged men, there were hip wiggles galore. The lighting was fantastic, and by the end of the show there was a tangible buzz going through the audience. Highlights included ‘You’ll Be Mine’, the aforementioned ‘Elements’, and the new album’s title track, ‘Creation’. Catherine Pierce has a fantastic stage presence, cracking jokes and swinging whole heartedly from one song to the next, and Allison, though less outspoken, is as energetic a performer, stamping feet and grinning at her band with all the passion of the best women in rock today.
In all: Creation is a great, layered album; The Pierces were a brilliant live act, and Cam FM looks forward to hearing far more of them in future. (Plus, they made us tea!)
Ella Watts’ interview with the Pierces will be broadcast on Cam FM o the 10th October from 8-9pm during n New Music Fridays this week
* Photo by Matt Thorpe