More sisterly tween-pop from literary-minded Salt Lake City gals.
In contrast to whitebread siblings like the Duff sisters or those adorable fundamentalists Aly & AJ, Korean-American sisters Meg and Dia Frampton (ages 18 and 21) adhere to an auteur theory of musicianship, writing all of their songs themselves. It’s commendable, I suppose, but the misplaced emphasis on authenticity comes at the cost of some of their tween rivals’ factory-assembled hooks. Still, Meg & Dia’s debut album Something Real has a certain spunky insistence, and songs like "Monster", "Roses", and "Nineteen Stars" contain the requisite ingredients for post-Avril teen girlpop success: fundamentally pop vocals that swell up for impassioned choruses, heavy guitar riffing that falls somewhere between punk and metal but always resolves into a palatable backbeat, and vaguely angsty lyrics about things like a "cheap July sky". Meg & Dia are indisputably at their best while rocking; the acoustic "Tell Mary" lapses into textbook emo balladry, while the piano-based "Rebecca" sounds like Tori Amos filtered through Vanessa Carlton. If these young upstarts spent a little less time cultivating MySpace friends (they’re closing in on 58,000 as of this writing) and a bit more effort on mastering the art of melody, they could be unstoppable. As it is, they’re off to an inauspicious but potentially promising start, and it’s hard to hate on any songwriter still idealistic (and literate) enough to base songs on novels by John Steinbeck and George Sand, as Meg does.