I really enjoy the New Pornographers, but when I listen to them, I get the feeling that they don't have enough going on outside of the band. Carl Newman records his own songs, Katherine Calder is a singer in Immaculate Machine, Dan Bejar has Destroyer, Neko Case has her own hugely successful solo career, and so on. And those are just the ones off the top of my head. All of which are worth your time and attention, for sure.
Yet now there's another one that is also quite promising: Hello, Blue Roses. This is a folk-pop duo made up of Bejar and vocalist Sydney Vermont, hailing from Vancouver BC. They are scheduled to release their debut album The Portrait is Finished and I Have Failed To Capture Your Beauty… on January 22 on Locust Music. Hopefully 2008 will also include a trip or two down I-5 for some shows in Seattle.
The songs are arranged beautifully, mostly by Bejar himself and they both sing nearly equally, sometimes at the same time but usually giving each other enough room for the listener to absorb their soft harmonies. Bejar's voice should be familiar but the revelation here is Vermont, who sounds like Kate Bush meets Regina Spektor, but folkier (and I mean that in a good way).