After several months of teasers, Wendy & Lisa this week released White Flags of Winter Chimneys, their first new album, not counting their soundtrack work, since 1998’s Girl Bros. Of course, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman are probably best known as members of Prince’s former band, The Revolution. But the pair, good friends since childhood, have made a name for themselves as a duo since being fired from The Revolution in 1986. Though their three albums as Wendy & Lisa and one under the moniker Girl Bros. weren’t huge commercial successes (though their first album, Wendy & Lisa, did spawn a moderate hit single, “Waterfall”), they are highly respected by critics and fans alike. Their work scoring television shows, such as Heroes, Carnivale, Crossing Jordan, and films, such as Dangerous Minds and Something New, has brought them quite a bit of positive attention in recent years and fans, like me, have been eager for them to release a new album of original Wendy & Lisa songs. After several listens to this new record I have to say that they did not disappoint.
Fans got a taste of the new material over the summer when Wendy & Lisa previewed two tracks, “Balloon” and “Invisible” via their website and MySpace page. I was quite pleased with both songs when I first heard them and was really excited to get my hands on the full record. I kept checking their site to see if there was any word on when it would be released, but nothing. I was getting worried that we wouldn’t see the album until 2009, but was pleasantly surprised to come home from work Tuesday evening to find an email announcing that the album had finally been released. They have made it available in three formats: digital only, CD with digital download and a deluxe package that includes limited edition colored vinyl, CD and digital donwload. Each format contains the full album plus four bonus tracks. I went for the digital download since I’m a little strapped for cash right now, but I kind of wish I’d gone for the deluxe package instead. Oh well.
White Flags follows the same path that started with the Girl Bros. album, which was definitely more laid-back and intimate than their previous work. With an eclectic mix of acoustic ballads, like “You and I” gorgeous piano-based pieces like “Balloon” and “Sweet Suite (Beginning at the End)” and funky rockers like “Salt & Cherries (MC5),” White Flags is probably one of their best, most complete works to date. The four bonus tracks are all demos from the ’90s. One is an early demo of the track “Niagra,” which appears on White Flags. Also included are demos of the songs “Viste” and “Waiting for Coffee,” which many fans will recognize from the bootleg of the unreleasead Wendy/Lisa/Trevor Horn project known as Friendly Fire, and another unreleased track, “The Dream.” I’m happy they included these and I’d love to see them dig further into their vault and give us more demos and unreleased tracks.
White Flags of Winter Chimneys was definitely worth the 10-year wait, though I hope they don’t wait that long to release another album. I’m really holding out for a Wendy & Lisa tour, though I haven’t heard of any definite plans. Perhaps when their full site is relaunched, we’ll know more. To get your grubby little hands on this album, head on over to wendyandlisa.com.
Wendy & Lisa – Salt & Cherries (MC5) (download)