Published Apr 17, 2015Rarely does a band name suite a sound so well as Sin and Swoon. The duo (made up of Montreal-based Michelle Tompkins and Mike O'Brien) write sinfully sweet old-timey tunes that make you swoon, which are perfectly encapsulated on their first full-length, Did I Turn the Oven Off?.
Straight out the gate, Sin and Swoon establish their signature sounds: Michelle's low alto twang, Mike's harmonies and lyrics that sound straight out of the 1930s dustbowl era. The tune "Chicken Lil'" kicks off the album, with lyrics that weave in the old farm story of Chicken Little and the falling sky. The adorably charming "Too Crazy Without You" is a back and forth between a couple, full of jabs at the start but reconciliatory near the end of each chorus ("If you must know the truth, there's no one I'd rather than you"). The similarly upbeat "Ain't That the Way" makes you want to throw on vintage clothes and swing dance.
But Sin and Swoon are more than upbeat kitschy country. They've got some delicious slow jams, too: "Troubles," which features Simon and Garfunkel-esque harmonies throughout, and "Better Days," a classic country heartbreak tune reminiscent of Loretta Lynn's best. Ending Did I Turn the Oven Off? is the mournful and muted "Boys and Bridges," edging itself towards some ethereal reverb, but not quite leaving the country genre. Overall, it's hard to believe Sin and Swoon call the urban landscape of Montreal home; they channel prairie farm life and simpler times like no other. (Independent)