Unlike those lying Doobie Brothers, Sisters 3 is actually a band comprised of three sisters: Cassandra, Beatrice, and Anna Christie Sadler. The Philadelphia trio has a vintage style, but it would be a mistake to lump them in with the folk pop revival trend of recent years. Their second album, Coruscate at the Meadow Gate, has a sound too diverse to fit neatly in any genre.
The vocals, with Anna Christie on lead and her sisters backing, is flavored with 50’s doo-wop in addition to standard folk harmonies. Most tracks are based around Cassandra’s piano, which is rooted in a classical style with jazz flourishes. Energetic drum rolls bring “Wolfpack” comfortably into pop territory while the slinky basslines and smoky vocals of “Wistful Wonder” befit a jazz lounge. “Apocalypse” features an appropriately ominous beat and the eerie repetition of a single piano note.
Despite the eclecticism, there is never a feeling that Sisters 3 are experimenting with different genres. Instead, variations in tone and style flow organically throughout the album. The ukulele-based “Meadow Gate” and the garage rock of “Carousel” may have drastically different sounds, but they both seem like natural expressions of Sisters 3.
Coruscate at the Meadow Gate transcends conventions of genre and traditional song structures, instead favoring capturing the raw emotion of the material. Discordant melodies and dynamic shifts provide an underlying tension, but each fragmented image and feeling is bound by the distinct vocal harmonies of the close-knit sisters.