Album Reviews

The Rogers Sisters – Three Fingers

(Too Pure) UK release date: 25 April 2005

The Rogers Sisters - Three Fingers I wish I was from New York. Then I’d be cool. Every single band from the Big Apple seems to automatically inherent this air of hipness. Seriously, think about it. What was the last band that hailed from NYC that wasn’t at least borderline cool? Where are New York’s Keanes, their Athletes, their Starsailors? You know, those oh-so-worthy, but oh-so-dull bands.

The Rogers Sisters are a Brooklyn based threesome consisting of two sisters (Jennifer Rogers on vocals/guitar and Laura Rogers on drums/vocals), from which the band name is cleverly derived, and the exotically monikered bassist/vocalist Miyuki Furtado. All are high of cheekbone and asymmetric of hair and, yep, they’re all cool. Or at least the music they make is. All angles and distortion and attitude, it wouldn’t be out of place at some white-walled, warehouse exhibition by an edgy new artist. Imagine a Warhol produced Rapture, or the The B-52’s kicked onto the stage at CBGBs and told to play for their lives in front of a leather clad crowd baying for Patti Smith.

Which is timely then, what with new-wave, jerky, post-punk revivalists ten-a-penny these days, but to ensure they are part of the wheat separated from the chaff, The Rogers Sisters have some neat tricks. First up is a sense of poppy playfulness, making sense of the B-52 comparisons and epitomized by Fantasies Are Nice: a sexy, jailbait punk sing-a-long, winking at all the boys that want it and only stopping chewing to pull the bubblegum out of its mouth, wrap it round a finger and offhandedly agree that “Fantasies are nice I guess / If you like fantasies”.

Secondly, they never really let the music sit still, repeatedly doing things to lead you off in bizarre directions from the furrow you thought was being ploughed. Five Months initially sounds like an off cut from Björk‘s Medúlla, then leads a mad-lib vocal through squelchy electronic foliage, steam-piston drumming and a riff that sounds strangled out of the instrument with a set-square, and the anti-war Check Level takes House Of Jealous Lovers and sets it to a “thump, thump, thump” Neanderthal beat that leaves you picturing Meg White sitting behind a peppermint drum kit in a Gang Of Four T-shirt. Although picturing Meg White behind a drum kit is something I aim to do at least once a day, so that allusion may just be mine.

Even the covers are sound. Captain Beefheart’s Zig Zag Wanderer is an onomatopoeically perfect interpretation of the title and the version of The Cure‘s Object is just downright dirty, with a filthy female vocal remarking “I’ve got no objections / To you touching me there”, in a manner far more appealing than when Robert Smith uttered it.

The inclusion of the two foreign language versions of 45 Prayers and Fantasies… smack a little of pretentious filler, but on the whole Three Fingers is a quirky, offbeat little gem. Full of surprises, full of hooks, full of great songs, oh and damn cool to boot.

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The Rogers Sisters – Three Fingers