Review: Joseph, 'I'm Alone, No You're Not'

Aug 18, 2016
Originally published on August 29, 2016 12:35 pm

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

As Joseph, sisters Allison, Meegan and Natalie Closner sing in tight harmony, fitting stylistically alongside fellow sister acts like First Aid Kit, Haim, The Staves and Lily & Madeleine. But along the way, they carve out a spot of their own, as they fill their second album with an appealing mix of swoony delicacy and punchy anthems. On I'm Alone, No You're Not, sweetness and power aren't mutually exclusive.

Punctuated by peppy, remix-friendly songs of devotion ("Blood & Tears") and resistance ("White Flag"), I'm Alone, No You're Not finds the Oregon-bred sisters delving into luscious ballads ("I Don't Mind"), spirited dance-pop ("SOS [Overboard]") and songs that build to cavernously booming, kick-drum-intensive rock (the appropriately titled "Canyon"). Joseph may have gotten its start playing living-room shows, but these songs are more than sturdy enough to support the layers of studio polish they get here.

With the help of Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis — whose work with First Aid Kit had already established his gift for wrangling and complementing impeccable sister harmonies — Joseph sounds fully formed on I'm Alone, No You're Not. Even better, these songs have a clearly defined and distinct point of view: The Closner sisters sing beautifully, sure, but they share their voices in the service of songs about fearlessness, commitment and the pursuit of a life fully lived.

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