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Sweet Felony

Split Ends Mend – 2013 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Sweet Felony

Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux come from two different musical worlds yet it was their love of music that brought them together. As their paths merged the two began to work as a duo and the songs flowing forth from their pens harnessed their rock and roll leanings and added a healthy dose of country and swing, resulting in their debut EP, "Split Ends Mend."

The concept here is good but the result is somewhat muddied. DiBiase and Guilbeaux craft rockabilly tunes like Us Again and Truckstop and showcase atmospheric surf rock guitar on Surrender. These songs rock without question. Yet, there's simply something missing here, whether it is in the indie-flavored production or the overall arrangements.

These same issues plague the more melancholic tunes as well, shown notably on the Latin flavored Just Friends. The composition is a bit helter skelter, not aided by the stark production, while the vocal arrangement just feels a little less than refined. Dream fails to pop, the vocals a bit flat and lacking in emotion while the music seems to simply go through the motions, but At Night takes steps in the right direction indie-meets-country dynamic enhanced by a bright and surprising xylophone fill that lightens the mood.

And when these ladies slow down, they conjure some real magic (Love On). Relying on their warm and tenderhearted harmonies, the duo's voices ebb and flow over a simple and subtle arrangement, a plodding drum line keeping time while a lazy guitar riff carries the rest of the load. It's the most subdued of the tracks, but is easily the best.

While Sweet Felony show flashes of goodness they never quite achieve greatness, as though there's something that hinders them from taking that next step. This one just lacks that extra punch to keep you pressing "repeat."