Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls

Posted: November 20, 2011 in Indie, New Music
Tags: , ,
There are so many different combinations of singers out there. Solo artists, duos, boy bands, girls bands, even families (oh Hanson). One of the best combinations out there is when a band has one female lead vocal and one male lead vocal. It was successful with Sonny and Cher. We’ve seen it work wonders for bands like The White Stripes and Lady Antebellum. Here’s a list at some of my current favourites.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The xx put out arguably one of the greatest albums of 2009, entitled XX. From England, lead singers Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft offer a perfect dynamic between male and female vocals. Her voice is light, airy and pretty. His is deep, slow, almost like a crooner. The result is two completely different vocal textures that contrast in such a way that they end up balancing each other out. They create a sensual harmony and each track is then given a male and female perspective. Some songs come across as conversations where the vocals are alternated; while others come across as expressions of shared inner thoughts, where the vocals are present simultaneously. Throw in their incredible sound and lyrics and what you have is musical genius.

The Naked and Famous is a New Zealand band who released their first album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, in 2010. Lead singers Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith have similar sounding voices, hers is high pitched and strong; his has a feminine quality to it but is also strong. Their voices tend to complement each other more than oppose each other with the end result being a much fuller and amplified sound. One acts as a supporting singer while the other one takes the lead, and it changes from one track to another. Combine these vocals with their electro sound and what you get is  some kick ass music.

Stars is a Montreal based band who released their breakthrough album Set Yourself on Fire in 2004. Also consisting of a male lead vocal, Torquil Campbell, and a female lead vocal, Amy Milan, both who are also members of Toronto band Broken Social Scene. Their voices are soft and effortless but full of emotion. A large number of their songs are more like duets and conversations so we clearly get the female and male perspective. Though the similarity in their voices enhances one another’s, what sets them apart lies in their delivery: the emotions they’re feeling are so distinctly heard in Amy’s and Torquil’s voices that the listener knows exactly what they’re going through. This again highlights the contrast between the male and female perspective because both sexes often feel differently about the same thing.

It’s clearly no secret that this blending of male and female voices intrigues the listener to the extent that they gain a better appreciation for the music because they can understand it better, relate to it better. These bands not only accomplish this with flying colours, but they also add incredible music and lyrics so that their overall sound speaks for itself. Boys like it. Girls like it. You’ll like it.

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