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Tuneful twins need to put the passion into pop

ELLIE and Louise look nervous. Dressed to impress, no doubt, but the MacNamara sisters, aka Heathers, could do with a bit of encouragement.

A wake-up call, perhaps, to remind them of their surroundings. This isn't the school hall -- staring at your feet won't get you anywhere. And it's not like they haven't got the voices. Or the tunes. So why make a mess of it by turning in a sleepy performance, eh? Maybe it's the audience.

Indeed, some will mistake the loud buzz in the Academy for atmosphere, when really it's the sound of a sugar-fuelled fan base engaging in some particularly noisy conversation.

But they certainly love a good pop number, as is evident when the girls pull out Remember When or the rousing Forget Me Knots. Ah yes, there's a sing-song on the cards tonight. It helps that the Dublin duo's masterful harmonies sound just as sweet in the flesh as they do on record.

Sure, it wouldn't hurt Heathers to take it easy on the 'oohs' and 'ahs', but they know what they're good at (inspirational -- and largely acoustic -- guitar pop), and it suits them.



Smiles

It's just a pity that they haven't quite figured out the art of performing live. It's one thing to show up and play -- it's another to actually put on a show. And you can put all the effort in the world into making things bigger (the 22-year-old twin sisters are now joined by a drummer and second guitarist) and brighter (their name is now up in lights ... or on a giant banner, at least) but it makes little difference if the star attraction forgets to bring their game.

Here we have two lead vocalists -- both of whom almost always seem restrained in their delivery. They'll swap smiles and jokes, but would it kill them to loosen up and show a little passion or enthusiasm in what they do? Even if it's just for an hour?

Because that's all the time we have tonight with Heathers. Short, yes, but long enough to see that poor Ellie (the one who isn't quite sure what to do with her arms) and Louise have a hell of a lot of work to do if their live performances are to ever match the quality of their songwriting.



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