Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Covers: "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" (and others) by Fiona and Emily

Sitting on a mattress, leaning against a bare wall, two British girls stare blankly into the camera, their vacant looks suggesting sedation, or perhaps abduction into a cult. The poor video quality gives the whole thing a slightly psychedelic tinge. The girls are singing Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", and it's really, really good.

They are Emily, 16, and Fiona, 13, two English girls who "like to sing and play songs for you all to watch and hopefully enjoy on youtube!" Outside of the strange videos, they seem like normal enough girls with normal enough interests. According to their Web site, they both love McFly and the Beatles, although Emily - somewhat bizzarely for a British teen - lists Lynyrd Skynyrd as one of her favorite groups. They're both fine singers, and Emily's guitar work usually supports even songs with more layered arrangements just fine.

Yet there's something off. Maybe it's the slight dissonance of their harmonies, which makes every song slightly eerie. Maybe it's the nervous way Fiona habitually and intently glances away in the videos - checking the lyrics, presumably. Maybe it's the fact that a thirteen year-old shouldn't be singing lyrics like "Rows of houses all bearing down on me/I can feel their blue hands touching me/All these things into position/All these things we'll one day swallow hole."

Maybe it's the fact that she's convincing when she does.

Other account highlights include: the wildly inappropriate way Fiona bounces on the edge of her bed as she croons the voyeuristic lyrics of the "Mr. Brightside,"; their unnerving, warbling "la la" harmonies on "Horse With No Name,"; the insanity of the girls doing the "ooooo!" noises in the chorus of "I Am the Walrus,"; and Fiona's oddly blank stare in "Wonderwall" (Challenge: make it through the first ten seconds while matching her death gaze into the camera.)

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