[No, I don’t know what the deal is with the egg. Clearly this is either (a) a sisterly in-joke or (b) an object of powerfully mystical significance. Maybe a little of both.]
Simply presented with the lyrics to The Shook Twins’ song “Rose,” absent the music, a discerning reader might figure it as some sort of magical-realist allegory of a girl’s growing up, discovering what it meant to be herself, and casting off convention to leave childhood (and home) behind. The free-flowing, unstructured lines, absence of consistent rhyme and meter, phantasmagorical imagery — it all suggests something crafted in the 1960s by, oh, say, Donovan:
(The Shook Twins)
Rose was born in the country but she dreamt of the sea
She lives with the best friend of a cobbler’s son
Where they take care of their own
She walks freely through the farm missing feathers from her plume
Pushed from the flock she knows so she eats alone
Best friend on her own
And does she know that she has a soul?
And does she know where we all go?
Rose tucks her head in dark feathers to keep from the storm
She sits silent on the front porch watching it all go
And the fire burns
And the garden grows
And the children play
Through the orchard’s moans
One day Rose left her porch and found the water running free
She jumped right in, tucked her feet and took that river to the sea
How does she know where we all go?
And how does she know that she has a soul?
[Lyrics reproduced here courtesy of the Shook Twins.]
And check out that picture at the top of this post. Mirrors, lantern light, floral-print dresses, long straight hair, the egg: more evidence, right? It’s not hard to imagine the Twins as feminist-folkie sorceresses embodying the spirits of Flower Children.
But hold on — what about the music? From the Bio page at their site:
Shook Twins are not your average folk duo. The sisters, Laurie and Katelyn, have some tricks up their sleeves.
You wouldn’t expect a small town girl from North Idaho (Sandpoint) to drop a beatbox in the middle of a song. Katelyn plays the guitar, glockenspiel, mandolin, sings opera into a telephone… Laurie plays wah-wah banjo, bass, ocarina, percussion and loops various melodies and beats to make it sound like more than just two identical twin sisters. Together they sing in twin harmony, which is a whole different experience from non-twin harmony.
Their sound is sculpted from the artists who inspired them most such as: The Beatles, Ani DiFranco, Joni Mitchell, Feist and Bjork.
Oh my. Wait until you hear all this swirled together with those lyrics… and see the Shook Twins in action.
Right. In the Twins’ conception, Rose isn’t a dreamy young woman standing at the end of a jetty with fog swirling around her while elves braid her hair. Rose is a chicken. Not exactly the stuff of conventional spooky-New-Age song, is it? I love the crazy skewed exuberance of that performance, the sense of messing about with a nutty song while stamping it all over with idiosyncratic musical virtuosity. It’s hard not to like artists who wink at themselves with such self-confidence, y’know?
(And yeah: there’s the egg — again.)
They’re still at a fairly early point in their career, as things go, so they’ve got plenty of time to establish just what a typical Shook Twins song might sound like. On the evidence of their Window album, released this past April, the lovely — and yes, haunting — “Shine On” might fall closer to the mark:
[Hat tip once again to Beat Surrender, this time for pointing me to the Twins in the first place. I’ve gotta stop this. People are gonna start thinking of RAMH as some kind of unofficial Beat Surrender annex.]
P.S. In the quotation from the Twins’ Web site, I omitted a phrase from the list of Katelyn’s musical, er, talents: …and bocks like a chicken. Didn’t want to blow the surprise. :)