“It feels as though we found each other, when we reflect back on the myriad of minutia decisions that were made to cross paths at that exact point in time,” says Phaedra Greene of the fateful day when she and sister Elsa met producer/songwriter Ryan Graveface. The story goes that Ryan stumbled upon the sisters singing and playing autoharp under a tree in a park in Savannah, GA, and the trio have been collaborating as The Casket Girls for the two or so years since. Phaedra continues, “it begs the question, was it the first time we met?”
This mystic sensibility is what the group have become known for, to an extent, and it colors the sound of their upcoming sophomore album, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, out Feb. 11th via Graveface Records. The ten-track record comes with its own bizarre backstory: allegedly, all of the lyrics were written in one night while the sisters were in some sort of semi-conscious dream state (“Elsa was sobbing and reciting poetry while Phaedra was just staring straight ahead and writing it all down, like catatonic,” according to Ryan) and they have no recollection of it at all. But despite these questionable origins, the final product is a rather focused and lush sounding album.
True Love Kills The Fairy Tale begins with a winking electronic beat and the sisters’ haunting, harmonious “oooh”s. As the album progresses, the production becomes ever more dense. “Day to Day,” for example, has a distinct shoegaze-y wall of sound quality to it and a slow tempo that lulls you into a haze. The title track features a lot of fuzz and some interesting instrumental work—acoustic guitar? banjo?—near its end, which is refreshing to hear midway through the electronically inclined album. “Holding You Back,” on the other hand, has a quintessentially pop sound to it, with ‘80s influences to boot. The lyrics, meanwhile, explore the tension and balance found in dichotomies (as in “Chemical Dizzy,” in which the girls sing “Opposites only exist with each other”) as well as more metaphysical themes (like the concept of “unrequited reality” from the first track, “Same Side”).
Though the album is pretty purely pop, it remains instrumentally grounded in Graveface’s mechanical blips. A straight-shot listen might make some of the tracks come off as repetitive, but The Casket Girls have a pretty specific sound which they do very well. Droning and entrancing, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale leaves you blissed out and bobbing your head along to the catchy riffs.