It’s been a dozen years since the Watson Twins made their mainstream debut as Jenny Lewis’s pitch-perfect backup singers, filling her solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, with gospel harmonies and alt-country charm. This month, they’ll reclaim the spotlight for themselves with Duo, the pair’s sixth album. Unlike the releases before it, Duo focuses equally on the siblings’ vocal chops and songwriting skills, with each song featuring the Watson Twins’ byline. They sing every melody together too, creating a thick, harmonically-dense sound that nods to vocal groups of the Sixties.
There’s a particularly nostalgic bent to “Playing Hearts,” a new track co-written by Kacey Musgraves collaborator Daniel Tashian. With pedal steel guitar riffs and a cloud of reverb hovering above, the Watsons sing about lost love with a swooning, vintage-friendly grace that recalls the Mamas and the Papas. The harmonies are stunning, and the production — executed by longtime collaborator Russ Pollard, with help from a backup band that includes Willie Nelson’s harmonica wiz, Mickey Raphael, as well as My Morning Jacket bandmates Carl Broemel and Bo Koster — recalls the layered work of the Wrecking Crew.
Duo arrives Friday, October 12th.