The MonaLisa Twins are one of the very few modern bands who write original songs in the 60’s Beat music tradition, reviving the genre with a modern, fresh twist without sounding pop-ish or trivial. On their debut album “When We’re Together” they present Rock ‘n’ Roll and Beat music, skillfully venturing out into Psychedelic, Folk and even Latin genres, inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. Their signature features are polyphonic harmonies and a wiry, bright guitar sound.
The core of the band is two 19 year old girls, actual twins named Mona and Lisa. Originally from Austria, they traveled extensively, performing in the USA, Australia and UK in their teens. They started out with cover songs on YouTube and released two CDs with covers in 2007 and 2008. At 16 they decided to go for a professional music career and began to record their debut album “When We’re Together” which was released in 2012. Since then they’ve played many live shows in small to medium-sized venues and festivals in Continental Europe, playing to new audiences and raising interest for their own music. Besides being played on Austrian radio stations they are increasingly conquering the Anglo-American music markets with regular airplay and doing radio and TV interviews in the USA and UK as well. They also produced a decent number of high quality music videos which have garnered a total of nearly 2 million views and over 4,500 subscribers on YouTube so far.
To say that the MonaLisa Twins music contains a whole host of influences is an understatement, yet the twin sisters ground their many influences in their sweet perfect harmonies and bouncy feel good attitude, floating throughout the entire album. Their skill and ability to craft and play retro rock n’ roll songs is borderline genius. The flitting nuances and subtleties come from musicians who love music and can sing and play. Thus the music has an organic and effortless appeal despite the many disparate tones which belies the tremendous talent it takes to create an album like this. Musically, this album really surprised me as it manages to both be almost immediately accessible as well as satisfying with real weight.
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The first three tracks off the album make for a 1-2-3 punch of some of the best beat pop music of hear this side of the 60s. “This Boy Is Mine” is my favorite out of the three currently, but ask me in another month or two and it might well be “Won’t You Listen Now” or “When We’re Together.” “I Don’t Know Birds That Well” has a nice banjo-driven rhythm, and while upbeat and fun, is one of the more serious and emotional tracks on the album. “Dreams” is a really wonderful meld of jazz and folk. “One More Time” is another showstopper with a wicked rock n’ roll feel paired with a bass line that pops in and out making for a very memorable moments. The rest of the album is a continuation of this brilliant retro feel and shows just how much depth these girls have.
“When We’re Together” has a near perfect pop/rock n’ roll blend that is so different I can’t even directly compare it to another artist’s work. The MonaLisa Twins’ talent and energy levels are through the roof, and together they make intense, unique music. The vocals are perfect in every song. The instruments engage beautifully. The harmonies are just gorgeous. This is what a distinctive, alternative pop album should be like. This is music for anyone who likes good music! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. You won’t regret it. I’m predicting this band will have a prominent career!
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