Tal & Acacia
Black and White
Sisters Talitha and Acacia Walters-Wulfing are God's favorite cheerleaders, plain and simple. And when their songs pop up randomly while His iPod is in shuffle mode, Jesus smiles REALLY big!
Their masterpiece debut, Wake Me, arrived in stores and at online retailers via Sony Music in 2010. The record garnered national radio airplay over the next two years as they toured the U.S. extensively and their songs were placed prominently in both movie and television soundtracks.
In 2013, the Nashville-based duo returns with their self-produced, independently released sophomore effort, Black and White. In the grand tradition of such acknowledged pop masters as The Beatles, The Buggles, and The Bangles, Tal & Acacia have further spread their creative wings, delivering a rock-solid piece of work that exemplifies their ever-maturing songwriting and offering a plethora of infectious Brian Wilson-like earworms.
Recorded, engineered, and mixed by Joe Hutchinson at Carport Studios in Nashville, Black and White is more organic-sounding than T&A's debut, due primarily to the luscious Richard Carpenter-caliber layered vocal arrangements, the warmth and beauty of the oft used Rhodes piano and the oh-so fat live drums. In addition to the sisters' own stellar vocal, guitar and keyboard contributions, the support cast of bassist Loren "Snoopy" Clark, drummer Kyle Hicks, violinist Jesse Hale, and percussionist Almichael Rodgers also all deserve kudos for their super rock star performances.
High energy highlights including "This Is Love," "Once Upon a Time," "Shoulders," and "All in All" showcase the duo's signature Go-Go pop style. And with its super groovy "Ooh, la da, dee la, da" sing-along chorus, "That's Me" is a mega gem. However, despite the compelling crunchiness of the snappier ditties, a few of the record's slower tempo tunes actually shine the brightest. Clearly referencing scriptures, the blues-flavored "Stone" and the delicate "Ninety-Three" both address a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Sweet and subtle, "Hands" is not only the crowning jewel of the record, it also serves as a vivid audio snapshot of the duo at their absolute best. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit that this one is so powerful that it actually gives me heart palpitations and makes breathing difficult. In fact, it likely will soon prompt intergalactic hipsters to ask earnestly, "Adele who?"
What I continue to find most engaging about Tal & Acacia's music is that they aren't shy about combining bold messages of personal faith with their everyday life experiences. Although it's a road less traveled by many of their contemporaries, it's an honest and refreshing approach that only makes sense, as Christians do fall in and out of love -- we walk our dogs, read books, surf the Net, go to the movies, attend Van Halen concerts, and all sorts of other "normal" stuff. Shocking, I know.
But jeez Louise, three years is a flippin' long gap in-between records. So, was it worth the wait? Oh, double heck yeah to the tenth power! In fact, Black and White is such an exciting record, it compels me to take my pants off and do silly dances through the streets as I shout with joy.