Science(!) tells us that the more we’re exposed to something, the more we tend to like it. We adopt a familiarity that makes each repeat experience comforting and positive. Summer Twins , for all their cotton candy chemistry (add two parts air to one part sugar and you’ve got a close approximation to their sound), have figured out how to expertly apply this scientific method.
Each repeat listen to the California dream-pop duo’s lazy, hazy, crazy debut adds another layer of shimmering, pink pleasure. Sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown quickly start to sound like a band you’ve had in your collection for years – and it’s more than simple 90s nostalgia for a brand of pop ala The Cardigans that the Summer Twins wholly embrace.
Don’t get me wrong: These two lovefools certainly sing sweet. The first time I listened through their debut, I heard only the bubbly, love-soaked pop and suffered a mild toothache. But tossing aside the initial twinge, I pushed play again and was pleasantly surprised in my second listen by the subtle variations in each track. The almost neo-western guitar twang to “Teardrops on My Pillow,” the bop- along, girl-group hand-claps in “I Will Love You” (a track that She & Him could have easily recorded), the Hawaiian lilt to “Stars Align” that sends leis shooting through my brain…For a record that at first wash seems overly simplistic, there’s actually quite a lot to hear in here. By the third listen, even the lovesick lyrics were opening doors I didn’t expect in my mind, drawing me in with small revelations and sunny imaginings.
Still, there’s a reason Summer Twins belong at the top of the food pyramid, and a principle to match. Hearing anything enough times might implant a joyful familiarity in us, but too many times and a backlash of boredom quickly takes its place. Already sounding like it’s been played before is enough to make the Summer Twins debut suffer easily from multiple playbacks, and the comfort of the songs can only hold so strong against the faint impression each makes, passing by like a whisper.
Like thinking back on a summer’s day in the midst of winter, Summer Twins highlight just the sunshine, the relaxation, and their album sinks in like a sweet memory. Yet it just may be the sweat and humid exhaustion of summer that make those moments of sun and relief so profound. With little sweat and a whole lotta sugar, Summer Twins is best enjoyed only in moderation.