Published By: Wears The Trousers – September 10th 2009
Now here’s an interesting cultural collision. Zilpha Starnes, a former choirgirl from Texas, and Dania Abu-Shaheen, a rock music loving Lebanese expat, established themselves as a “vocal folk duo” in 2005 after sharing a New York apartment together for a year or so. Already a veteran of the city’s coffeehouse circuit with a solo album to her name, Abu-Shaheen initiated the collaboration and the pair soon found themselves the toast of the scene. Pink White Blue Green follows on from their 2007 debut Summer In The Woodshed, and was written in the midst of a bold move away from their NYC comfort zone and into the Boston artistic community. It’s hard to say exactly what impact this relocation might have had on the album, but Pink White Blue Green is nevertheless a clear step forward for the unlikely pair.
Though in some ways the duo recall other closely harmonising pairings like the Indigo Girls, their unique and powerful voices curiously don’t quite blend as one would expect. Their intelligent yet awkward harmonies and predominantly vocal slant on a folk-rock sound is original and enchanting. Highlights include ‘Rocket Science’ for its beautiful, melodic a cappella breakdowns, ‘Fit Fit Fit’ for its purity of purpose, and the stunningly raw and powerful ‘Leave Sonny’. In keeping with the colour wheel hopping of the title, there are times when Pink White Blue Green can leave one feeling a little lost and dizzy, but there’s always something just earthy enough around the corner to steer us back to an expedition of appreciation.