Sisters J’s latest single “Clearly” takes the sibling duo into a whole new realm as they move from the religious influence of their previous material into a more secular realm than ever before. There’s no sense of them compromising their values or beliefs to make this transition work; instead, they have discovered a way to incorporate modern music into a lyrical point of view that traffics in universal human emotion rather than catering to a narrow audience.
Their vocals are elite but are nevertheless arranged and presented in such a way that they will strike an instant chord with scores of listeners. They’ve paired their singing with a potent if a bit predictable rock backing, but it’s well-tailored to the sisters’ voices without a single note of overkill. I am especially a fan with how they use the beat during this song and think it provides a good answer to the almost pristine beauty of their voices. It pushes against listeners once we’ve passed the intro without ever bearing down too hard.
They’ve spent much of their life perfecting what we hear. Elisabeth Jackson is a recent honor’s graduate with a degree in music education while her sister Lily has received similar academic awards while carving out a reputation for herself in national vocal competitions. So when you hear the seasoned quality of their approach and the confidence in their phrasing, it’s good to remember that it’s a product of both their innate gifts and, likewise, their discipline and hard work. They’ve put the time in, and it shows. The lyrics of Clearly mixed with the mastering of music producer Ted “Theo” Perlman have proven to produce a song that will last a lifetime.
They continue making astute judgments about whom they’re working with to make this magic happen. Arranging the vocal harmonies for this song is no small task, to be sure, but the Jackson sisters make it sound effortless as all great singers do. They are ably supported, however, by production and mixing that properly highlights their vocal talents first and foremost without ever giving the music short shrift.
It is this sort of well-rounded approach characterizing Sisters J’s previous releases and will likely remain a hallmark of their future material. Their mastery of fundamentals extends to an awareness of how their voices should be best presented and they will undoubtedly refine and develop their presentation as their careers move forward. They are in this for the long haul.
Every line of their vocals reveals that. It is beyond doubt that these are sisters as the similarities in vocal timbre are impossible to ignore but it’s in the differences, however imperceptible, where listeners will hear something special. It is the sound of human communication sparking to life and using the gift of songs to tell others about what’s in their heart. Listeners across the board will open themselves up to the experience the Sisters J offers and, invariably, they will become fans for life. The release of “Clearly” is a potentially transformative moment for these young singers. All of the elements are here to my ears and there’s also that extra dollop of the undefinable that pushes everything to a higher level than before. I can say I enjoyed every second of the ride.