CD Review of Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge by The Pierces

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Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge
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Released: 2007
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Any album which opens with a song that declares, “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead,” certainly grabs your attention right out of the starting gate…but, then, if you’ve seen the video for “Boring,” the first single from The Pierces’ Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge, they’ve probably already secured your interest, anyway, what with their total hotness and all. If you’re wondering, this isn’t the Pierce sisters’ first album -- but as far as they’re concerned, it might as well be.

These Thirteen Tales were preceded by two major-label releases – the first on Sony, the second on Universal South – but according to Allison in a brief interview in Jane Magazine, “they ended up being not what we wanted at all.” Having not actually heard either of those discs in their entirety, it’s impossible for us to offer a definitive explanation for their position, but the samples over on iTunes would seem to indicate that the earlier albums were produced within an inch of their lives; additionally, there seems to be precious little trace of the humor that pervades virtually every song on the new disc. A key example of what the girls find funny can be found on the aforementioned “Boring,” which is a deadpan condemnation of, well, pretty much everything. In the chorus, the sisters sing, “Nothing thrills us anymore / No-one kills us anymore / Life is such a chore / When it’s boring,” while the verses find them turning their noses up at virtually all types of sex, drugs, fashion, food, and, indeed, everything they’ve ever wanted.

It’s a wonder the Pierces made it out of Nashville alive, given the directions the folks in Music City were apparently giving them -- but, then again, given how dissimilar Thirteen Tales appears to be from the albums that preceded it, there’s a certain temptation to think that the Pierces might just be throwing another sound against the wall to see if it’ll stick. Still, even if that’s the case, the results make for a lot of enjoyable listening. There are some Nellie McKay sounds (“Boy in a Rock and Roll Band,” “Turn on Billie”), alt-country (“Kill! Kill! Kill!”), and a style perhaps best described as goth-folk (“Ruin” and “Secret”), all laced with the duo’s darkly sweet sisterly harmonies.

Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge is the perfect album for girls who look like Winona Ryder in “Beetlejuice,” wear Emily the Strange attire, and, most importantly, maintain their sense of humor despite having a predilection for the dark side of things. And although nobody ever said that female singers absolutely have to be hot to be popular, the fact that they’re decidedly easy on the eyes will certainly help lure a few guys over to the Pierces’ camp as well.

~Will Harris