Who says there’s nothing new under the sun? I do. In an era where truly original idea are all but completely exhausted, the best we can hope for is an act that is doing things in a less common, if not a groundbreaking way. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis’ musical approach on “The Third” is one road that has seen considerably less traffic than most.
“The Third” is a musical grab bag of genres from bygone eras. It’s an echo of yesterday’s sounds from the understated Mick Jones (the Mick Jones of The Clash, not Foreigner) production to the easy-going Sunday afternoon vibe of old analog recordings. The London siblings, whose surname is Durham, bring their take on old rhythm & blues, swing, disco, ska, traditional blues and even a bit of nineteen sixties-styled protest music. All of these are done with vibrant modernity that make the eclecticism sound as one unit. While the Eartha Kitt/rockabilly personas adopted by the band in videos and live shows contribute a bit to the vibe, at times they can be over the top and unnecessary as the songs create plenty of intended atmosphere.
Daisy Durham is on lead vocals for the majority of songs. Moreover, the obvious first single, “Baby Bye Bye,” is sung by her brother, Lewis Durham. The track is a jaunty, piano-based number conducive to a night of riverboat gambling. It stands in stark comparison to another Lewis sung selection, the hippie tinged family sing along, “Developer’s Disease.” His talent at adapting to different song styles is so present that his vocals almost sound like completely different performers.
Daisy Durham brings the aura of an old soul to the songs. Her voice at times bring to mind June Carter Cash and other times Ella Fitzgerald, often falling somewhere in between. Her best track here (arguably) is “Feeling of Wonder.” On it, she takes on a perfect soulful cadence which sounds effortless. Coming in a close second is the swinging London era stomp, “Whenever You See Me.” Regardless of the track, Durham’s vocals always comes through with the energetic exuberance of a musician exploring musical periods she’s too young to have known. “Whiskey” and “Aint Always Better Your Way” also contribute well to the mix.
It’s no small wonder that the Durham siblings are multi-instrumentalists with music in their blood. They come from an impressive musical pedigree. Both of their parents -who record with them and play shows- are accomplished players in their own right. Their father, Graeme Durham, is a well-known recording engineer (The Cure, The Buzzcocks and others) while their mother. Ingrid Weiss was the drummer for seminal cult band, The Raincoats (a favorite cited by the late Kurt Cobain). Having already sold a half a million records and played large festivals around the world, “The Third” may just be the record to propel the band into the consciousness of a larger, more mainstream audience.
Top Tracks: Baby Bye Bye, Feeling of Wonder, Whenever You See Me
Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, The Third CD Review/2015 Sunday Best/ 13 tracks