In their second venture with producer T. Bone Burnett, butternuts Laura and Lydia Rogers rejoice with another warm success on their sophomore album Put Your Needle Down. The Secret Sisters are Nashville darlings for good reason – the duo has the incredibly refined country sound down pat. Much like its predecessor, Put Your Needle Down paints a southern gothic-lite narrative in a hauntingly masterful way only T. Bone is capable of. (Who thought Burnett could craft something Americana related so well? Surprise to me.)
With perhaps the most energy and fervor seen from the sisters Rodger, much of the orchestration sounds as if the rhythm section is comprised of a disinterred New Orleans crew helmed by a vivaciously exhumed Bo Diddley. The track “Dirty Lie” is the closest Tom Waits inspired scape anyone out of the Burnett camp has achieved as of late, and good on The Secret Sisters for holding that title. The entirety of the album culminates to the ideal amount of macabre for one album without verging into inordinate levels of shock.
Put Your Needle Down would be greatly flawed without a great deal of that ethereal grace flaunted on their first record, and boy are we lucky to hear that beauty again. As much as credit must be deferred to Mr. Burnett for purposes of production, the downright celestial harmonies of Laura and Lydia are incomparable. It’s safe to say the Rodger sisters are the Phil and Don of their day – “Lonely Island” and “I Cannot Find A Way” sound like something straight from the Felice and Boudleaux Bryant catalogue.
The album occasionally veers towards monotony from time to time, but before taking a turn towards stiff Americana idolatry a la She & Him, the pace becomes surprisingly brisk. The Rogers sisters are indeed nonconformists, so any unconventional way they can plug the listener works just fine.
Another exemplary return from the Burnett camp, once again a romanticized zeitgeist is brought into the periphery. It may not be “Happy”, but we can certainly be joyous for that.
Born and raised on classic rock and oldies, Jake Tully consumed music voraciously growing up in Central California. He has his wonderful grandparents to thank for his love of music, as well as the amazing luck to have seen hundreds of concerts in his lifetime. He considers himself an eclectic consumer of all media, and further reading can be found at his blog.