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Twins' sweet voices create beautiful musical kingdom

heathers

Kingdom

(Warner Music)

HHHII

Dublin twins Louise and Ellie MacNamara may not be household names, but there's a strong chance that there isn't a single person in this country who hasn't heard their music. That's because their song, Remember When, has been sound-tracking those seemingly ubiquitous Discover Ireland ads for the past few years.

The siblings have taken their time to follow up their debut album and that's no bad thing because their sound has progressed significantly.

Previously, they favoured a simple, largely acoustic accompaniment that highlighted the charms -- and deficiencies -- of their naif vocals. Now, the instrumentation has swelled to include strings and a myriad other instruments and their voices have greater heft too.

And, in the years that have elapsed between albums, they've left their teenage years behind them and lived a life that's provided rich pickings for the songs here.

The beguiling, cello-led We Burn Bridges marks a significant step up from what they released before with the sisters, who share vocals throughout the album, playing off each other wonderfully.

And first single, Forget Me Knots, shows they have mastered the art of melody -- it's as sweet an Irish song you'll hear all year and little surprise that they've been garnering fans, including "superstar" DJ David Guetta, who has expressed interest in the MacNamaras writing for him.

Yet, the album's strong songs also serve to show that the Heathers lack the consistency that make contemporaries such as Lisa Hannigan and Gemma Hayes such forces to be reckoned with.

The Third Rail and Gather Up sound especially slight and the best that can be said about Listen Don't Speak is that it has "grower" potential.

KEY TRACKS We Burn Bridges; Forget Me Knots

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