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  • Jonathan Widran


The official bio for the enchanting vocal harmony duo Pale Mara is a fascinating flow of words that uses elusive, sunlight through a dreamcatcher, wind through chimes phrases like “cool, autumnal breeze,” “boughs of cherubs,” “hearts of willows” and “beautiful licks of its life-song.” And that’s just the first sentence. Normally such poetic descriptions leave people frustrated, like where are the objective facts of their lives. But here, with Allison Robinson and Lee Bones, it makes perfect sense.

Though the is based in Brooklyn (just a focal point, not where either originated from), the gossamer grace of their vocal flow, whether on sparking mid-tempo gems like “Not Like I Used To” or dreamy and innocent romantic ballads a la “Bird,” is ethereal, feeling not completely of this earth, and certainly more from another, less complicated era than the present day. What’s nice is that their full band, rhythm section driven approach more often than not grounds them in groove.

So you’ll enjoy the whimsical jingle jangle, retro-keyboard flow of “Sun POV Song,” whose soaring vocal harmonies, combined with the sparkly electric guitars, may have you checking to see if it’s a cover of some Byrds or /Mamas and the Papas song you overlooked. When Robinson and Bones are not creating the harmonic magic, we can enjoy their alternating lead vocals on crisply rendered easy rollers like “I Think I Am a Phoenix” (Bones) and the sweet, steel guitar swirled traditional country flavored “Only Say It If You Mean It” (Robinson).

Though electric and acoustic guitars dominate, the foundational stark piano on “My Curse With The Canvas” adds a powerful haunting glow. The biographer’s concluding thought – “It takes hold of softly solid ground and reshapes it anew and in its own image and that’s where we’re at – it’s magical” – may do the work of sincere reviewers, but tells the listeners, all who will become instant fans, all they need to know about this remarkable musical partnership.

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