Sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly take cues from expert exponents of folk, bluegrass and old-time country on "Half Mad Moon," a punchy major-label debut produced by alt-rock knobs man John Croslin (Guided By Voices, Spoon). "Spit and Tears" is a banjo-flecked saga of redemption; "No Sign of Water" feels like a world-weary cowboy hymn; and "Kansas" is a period piece edged with fiddle.
Boone and Kelly seriously got the twang thing, but it ain't exactly a ball and chain. Opener "Things I Once Adored" drives home its tale of bittersweet regret with a fierce backbeat and Rob Bernard's distorted guitar jangle. And it's tough to resist the pleasures of "Black Widow," a tongue-in-cheek tale of a stolen amplifier: "Tomorrow on my day off/ I'm gonna get up and call all the pawn shops/ Describing her distinguishing features." Sounds like a true story.