The Rogers Sisters: The Invisible Deck

The Rogers Sisters
The Invisible Deck
Too Pure/Beggar's Group

A twitchy dance-rock combo (non-electroclash division) that was playing Brooklyn house parties before they'd settled on a name, the Rogers Sisters first came across as a footnote to the crop of like-minded acts New York produced circa Y2K. But with early adopters either undergoing rapid stylistic shifts (Black Dice, Liars) or simply failing to live up to the hype (the Rapture, anybody?), the trio is beginning to sound like survivors. Named for a trick-card effect well-known in magic circles, The Invisible Deck doesn't radically rethink the dynamic forged on 2003's Purely Evil, but it does add a few new wrinkles to a subgenre that's otherwise closing in on its sell-by date.

Producer Tim Barnes, the Silver Jews drummer best known for his improv collaborations with Sonic Youth, wisely leaves the band's signature virtue intact--namely, the vocal interaction between Jennifer and Laura Rogers's chirpiness and non-sibling Miyuki Furtado's unforced rock delivery. What Barnes brings to the table is the means, or at least the license, for the members to spread their wings as instrumentalists. The thudding toms-and-maracas undertow of the opening "Why Won't You" would have been unthinkable on earlier releases. So would the rich guitar tones of "Money Matters," which begins with a sweeping electric-acoustic blend boosted from "Love Will Tear Us Apart" before detonating a barrage of Goo-ey squalls.

Unfortunately, the group's new sonic confidence isn't always matched by their material. "Your Littlest World" justifies its 6:41 with trippy, flute-and-feedback textures, but the even longer "Sooner or Later," chorus aside, is a monochord meander only a Krautrocker could love. Nothing here balances goofiness and gravity as arrestingly as the debut's global-warming-themed "Zero Point," though "The Clock" comes close, as references to "Three Blind Mice" ("the butcher's wife/a carving knife") interrupt a countdown to who-knows-what ("The clock struck one...the clock struck none"), sung by Furtado and one of the Rogers with an abandon that only increases the mystery. Even with its inconsistencies, The Invisible Deck has the unmistakable sound of a band finding its own way after its scene's moment in the limelight has passed.

 
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