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On February 26th, Indiana natives and sister duo Lily & Madeleine released their third LP, Keep It Together. This album encapsulates the spirit of growth and change in Lily and Madeleine as singers and as young adults. Lily & Madeleine are best known for their powerful vocal prowess. Their rich harmonies prove they are singers well beyond their years (Lily is 18 and Madeleine is 21). Growing up singing with one another has tightened their ability to feed and play off of each other musically, and on Keep It Together they show growth and change, especially when it comes to composition, adding in electric guitar, strings, Moogs, synths, and other electronic flourishes that supplement the organics of their vocals and traditional piano/ acoustic guitar combo.

Album opener, 'Not Gonna', sets the tone. It is moody, subtle. The strings, sparse drum beat, and unison singing start the album with the feeling of hearing the music in a smoky den where ladies in faux fur coats and men in cheap suits buy whiskey and cigarettes too lavish for their budgets. The first words of the song are, "Cuts along your thighs/ melting together, like/ milk and ex-wives." This is not young angst. These are the words of young adults coming into their own as poets and trying to piece together what it really means to be human. And then, almost out of nowhere, a twisting synth line trembles at the forefront of the song. Where back in the day this could have been a smooth saxophone line, the synth elevates the song to that place of growth mentioned earlier.

Then there is, 'For the Weak', which is all indie dream/surf-pop. There is a definite Best Coast vibe happening in this song. The hazy guitars, dreamy vocals, and sunny drums propel the song underneath the wash of their vocals. There is also a tasty electric guitar solo that takes the song to a place that would not have worked on previous Lily & Madeleine records. But here, it is right at home. The same can be said of the '90s alt style of 'Small Talk'. The pulsing bass, heavy drums, and dissonant guitar are the antithesis of their saccharine vocals. But they weave together into something more complete.

'Hourglass' is a strong single if I've ever heard one. It has the mid-tempo vibes that get you moving without distracting from the syncopated drums, and piano playing. It then opens in the bridge with a build-up of strings and then gently takes you back down to enjoy the outro. Then right after, 'Smoke Tricks' bubbles up. It is minimalist and solemn. There are subtle electronic flourishes. I can't help but wonder if they looked to fellow Midwestern band, Bright Eyes, for influence; there is a bit of Digital Ash In A Digital Urn vibe going on in the background.

It is wonderful to hear the places Lily & Madeleine delved into sonically and lyrically. But, there could have been a little more push and pull on the record as a whole. While each individual song has great dynamics, but as a whole, the record keeps the levels fairly consistent. Tracks like, 'For the Weak' and 'Small talk' could have been pushed further. There was potential to just disintegrate the songs and give the vocals more grit. While the tight harmonies are something beloved by anyone who has listened to these two sing, there were times where pain, anger, confusion, could have really come through sonically. It also would have allowed the quiet moments to feel softer and the experimental moments to shine through even more.

Growth as an artist/band is only honest if it comes from within. While exterior pressures can help cultivate a change in direction, ultimately, it is up to the creative mind to go all in. Otherwise, what you end up with is something disingenuous and forced. And that is heard much too often. But when ego and self-doubt are set aside, a new wind carries you to sounds and emotions that are frightening. But, they settle before your eyes to reveal truths you could not have reached otherwise. It is in those moments when music connects not only with the creator but with the listener, as well. Keep It Together accomplishes this and then some. This is the album that will put Lily & Madeleine in the ears and minds of music lovers everywhere.

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