Catherine and Allison Pierce's fifth record is, to all intents, a drug album: it was shaped by the Alabama sisters' experiences with the hallucinogen ayahuasca, which they used after finishing the promotion of their breakthrough 2011 LP, You & I. The disappointment is that none of their psychedelic epiphanies have surfaced in the music. That's not to deny Creation's loveliness – it's an uplifting vocal-harmony set that documents the end of one romantic relationship and the start of another. But how remarkable would it have been if the Pierces' silvery harmonies had been touched by something wiggier than simply love and loss? Maybe next time – for now, Creation finds them further along in their journey from "backwoods gothic" spinetinglers to purveyors of high-class soft rock. At its best, it's exceptionally beautiful: there's the foreboding, Stevie Nicks-esque Monsters, the stately Elements, with its steely harmonies, and elegiac motivational track Kings, which allows the sisters to declare their mutual devotion. They mainly avoid generic West Coast languor (the title track shows what happens when they go there); the result is a top-drawer effort that establishes them as major players.
The Pierces: Creation review – silvery, spinetingling soft-rock
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian