With a clicky, sampled undercurrent and a seductive, eardrummy beat, “Brothers & Sisters” is an effortlessly wonderful piece of electronic pop—dreamy, determined, and enticing. The music is, in fact, as likable as our current-day tendency to micro-label such music is unlikable. (There is a whole side story here about Unison making music that is part of a genre called “witch house,” which started as a joke and then became a thing, even as debate continues whether it actually is a thing or not. Boring.)
Much of the allure lies in the substantive soprano of Melanie Moran. Don’t let the airy whisper fool you; here is a woman who sings with the resolute agency of an indie diva. (And I’m passing no judgment here on her personality, just on the consequence of her voice.) In the context of Unison, her voice is one of many sonic elements—some percussive, some keyboardy—but note how, through the first two-thirds of the song, she is never subsumed; even whether other sounds appear louder, Moran is always given space. Her tone is weighty from low register to high, and I would say it is precisely her authoritative tone that allows the band to throw all the whooshy/clackety electronics onto the track so successfully.
And when, at last, the kitchen-sink background rises fully to meet her (3:37), we may lose some of her articulation but her bell-like sonority still anchors the swelling soundscape, which by now is full of beats and ghostly backing vocals and something resembling a doorbell having a nervous breakdown.
Unison is the French duo of Moran and Julien Camarena. “Brothers & Sisters” is a song from their self-titled debut, which was released in France in September, and arrives in the U.S. next month on Lentonia Records.