The husband and wife musical pairing, Us the Duo, have released their second album No Matter Where You Are to digital airwaves. Carissa and Michael Alvarado have recently become a buzz worthy musical group due to an innovative twist on notable pop songs and Vine. They’ve built up an audience of over 3 million followers. Recently appearing on Good Morning America has only helped the momentum and shortly after they signed with Republic Records.
The question is are they worth the hype? The answer: it depends. Like all music there’s a tendency for listeners to align themselves with a certain genre and sub-genre and Us the Duo is very much of the folksy, blue-grass vein. They’re home grown and earthy and that won’t attract a universal fan-base but depending on good word of mouth they could likely generate a loyal one.
It’s certainly a confident album for only their sophomore effort. The album begins strong with the duo harmonizing on the title track “No Matter Where You Are”. It’s upbeat and inviting and put my assumptions of what it would sound like to rest. Whether you like it, love it or forget it immediately, it’s hard to argue that Us the Duo didn’t know exactly what they were doing on the album. There’s a clear, concise sound in all eleven tracks and none seem out of place.
“Come Back” is one of the first few songs that slow the pace down. Despite the acoustic, singer-songwriter feel there’s a heavy rhythmic undercurrent beat that accompanies the trading of lyrics by the two vocalists.
The lyrics verge quite frequently on the schmaltzy/cutesy side but they are folk singers. The tradeoff of lines is comfortable banter-most obviously in “Don’t Lay Your Head” with lines such as “Who’s gonna tuck you in and kiss you one last time” peppering the song.
There’s a lot of love on this album-so many love songs. “Falling in Love” is the most obvious choice for anyone in the mood for that type of song styling. But despite their affinity for whispering sweet nothings it’s their song “Heartbreak” that’s the memorable track. Despite simple lyrics the piano backing and melancholy vocals build a remarkably pretty song-for lack of a better word. It’s the type of song that I’d add to a rainy day playlist.
If there’s any obvious fault it’s the apparent lack of risk. They wrote a personal, lightweight album that makes for easy listening but nothing I’ll be running back for any time soon. The female vocals on certain songs such as “Dear Mom and Dad” can become quite tinny but for the majority of the album the way that the male and female vocals fit together is a particular triumph.
The album is available through digital retailers today. If you’re in the mood to listen to an album full of shared moments of love, some sweet vocals and a catchy song or two make sure to check it out.
Watch them performing “No Matter Where You Are” at their own wedding below and admit to the cynic inside you that it’s pretty damn cute.