Charm Of Finches is Melbourne sister-duo Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes. Now aged 16 and 14, they've been singing harmonies together "forever", busking old-timey a cappella with a friend outside their dad's fruit shop and playing proper gigs for at least the past five years. Their debut EP (Home) was released a couple of years back, and it contained six of their original songs sung in gorgeous sibling harmony and accompanied - er, charmingly, on guitar, cello and glockenspiel.
Last year their song Paper And Ink won the 2015 Darebin Music Feast Songwriters' Award, so it's inevitable that it makes an appearance on Staring At The Starry Ceiling, the sisters' debut album. It's track 2, and easily typifies the sisters' honest, simply expressed writing and their gentle, together sound-world. Their full album is a conscious step forward from the earlier EP in terms of production values, for with the help of Little Lake Records' Nick Huggins, the sisters have managed to layer vocal and instrumental textures, albeit selectively, by experimentally adding violin, cello, lyre, banjo, piano, hammered dulcimer and other low-key niceties to the basic guitar and ukulele parts (and of course the occasional plinking of the glockenspiel). To their credit, they've not gone overboard with the overdubbing, and both the songs and their delivery have retained all their charm. In fact, some songs like Fossil In Stone and Dragonfly gain in impact with their fuller, or more inventively idiosyncratic, scoring.
I wouldn't like to attempt to pigeonhole (or finch-hole?) Mabel and Ivy's music, but it's been said that if you respond to Indigo Girls, you'll find Charm Of Finches to your liking. Overall, there's probably insufficient variety of tempo over the ten songs, and sometimes the girls' writing might demand a more substantial sense of melodic progression than their too-easily-drifting settings provide, but given time …
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