ROGER ROGER - FAIRWEATHER
Released January 15, 2016
By Chloe Sjuberg
Just as Winnipeg twins Madeleine and Lucas Roger’s stage name reflects their sibling status, the radio communication phrase “roger, roger” also alludes to the clear understanding between the two. This is apparent on their debut album Fairweather in their confident harmonies and the way they alternate lead vocals between tracks (a cool, if obviously deliberate, conceit).
The album offers a cohesive mix of songs with strong storytelling and something to suit every mood. Madeleine lends her sincere, lilting voice to introspective folk-pop offerings like Think of Me and Scott Free. Moody Mad Trapper and O Rainy Day hit Southern-gothic notes, and You Came Around is a no-nonsense, all-fun rock song. Lucas's wistful voice on the title track, lyrics heavy with domestic details made meaningful, puts me instantly in mind of The Mountain Goats or The Weakerthans.
Shifts in time and perspective are big themes on Fairweather. 13 Crows is a musing on memories and the passage of years. Another Girl’s Shoes expresses regret over time wasted, but I feel from its clear-eyed energy that the narrator is making peace with herself.
On slower, sadder songs, Madeleine and Lucas's bittersweet boy-girl folk harmonies bring to mind The Civil Wars. Those harmonies are rich, complex, often unexpected and (excuse the play on words) far from one-note. Sometimes both voices are strong and tight-knit, and sometimes one singer’s presence will be lighter. Both Madeleine and Lucas have a great range and agility in their vocals – but instrumentally they’ve got it on lock too. The album mainly features both Rogers bringing out a great range of sounds and styles on their guitars.
Roger Roger's sound and stories are reflective and crafted (and so were their responses in this great interview we did with them). I’m curious if on future offerings they will choose a narrower path to focus on genre-wise. It’s clear they can do it all!