Quick spins: The Casket Girls’ ‘Sleepwalking’ is creepy-cool music
By Allison Stewart,
The Casket Girls Sleepwalking
If the ghost girl twins from “The Shining” ever formed a band, it might sound just like the Casket Girls, a two-girls-and-a-guy combo pairing Savannah, Ga., musicians Elsa and Phaedra Greene with Ryan Graveface (yes, that’s really his name), the guitarist for rock experimentalists Black Moth Super Rainbow.
The Casket Girls’ November debut, “Sleepwalking,” is a creepy cool — emphasis on creepy — conflation of old-timey front-porch folk and droney synths. The Greene sisters spend most of it singing shoegazer ballads in flat, sing-song harmonies. Everything is slowed down for maximum goosebump factor; many tracks aren’t so much sung as recited like horror-flick nursery rhymes. Add in a genteel fascination with the afterworld, and you’ve got the best album released this year by folks who are possibly undead .
It’s a shtick, and the Greenes and Graveface work it hard, but it’s an effective one: “Maybe we weren’t meant for these times,” they suggest, in vast understatement, on the opening fuzz fest “Walking on a Wire.” “There will be no starting over / It’ll just be over,” they murmur spookily on the title track, a characteristically languid mix of distortion and sepia-toned pop.
“Sleepwalking” seems to want to mold itself out of the same materials as classic girl-group offerings, in which dark rivers often flowed underneath the sunniest songs. But the harder the band tries, the more labored it seems. The best song here may be “The Visitor,” a spoken-word number about a ghostly encounter that bisects the album. Under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem weird at all.
— Allison Stewart
“The Visitor,” “Sleepwalking,” “Walking On a Wire”