Sister acts have always held a special place in pop music, from the Andrews Sisters to the McGarrigles, and given the natural harmonies and intuitive insight that only siblings can share, it makes sense that very often they prove to be so successful. So while the Henry Girls haven't cast any kind of impression on American audiences thus far, they do hold a respectable ranking in their native Ireland, having tallied up four albums, a film score and supporting credits for that great homeland folk chanteuse, Mary Black.
Considering those credits, the American introduction the three girls get with their latest effort, "December Moon," seems entirely too belated. After all, the album was released two years ago in the U.K. and is only making its appearance over here now. Nevertheless, if viewed as fresh new talent, then the Henrys (Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin) appear well worth waiting for.
Flush with vibrant harmonies, a modest attitude, a sugary kind of enthusiasm, and, most importantly, songs that warrant an immediate embrace, "December Moon" is the kind of album that will likely set the course for growing appreciation amongst newly converted Stateside enthusiasts. Their take on the traditional folk standard Rain and Snow provides a point of immediate reference, but hearing them reinvent Elvis Costello's prickly Watching the Detectives as a cuddly sing-along shows an innate ability to come across as immediately endearing. That then makes the original material - the lullaby-like Moonstruck, the soothing and supremely harmonious Stop Saying Forever, and the blithe serenade Fool's Gold - particularly charming simply by being in the same company.
The earnest enthusiasm of the Henry Girls provides a sunny respite. Hopefully they'll be strangers on these shores no more.