"People either love their swooping three-part harmonies and folksy-neurotic humor, or they want to flee to another time zone," wrote Salon critic Dwight Garner, looking back on 1975's Seductive Reasoning, an early album by the Roches, veteran folk rockers from New York.
Indeed, the quirky manner in which the Roches — sisters Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy — merge their voices, as well as their often novel lyrics and fusion of flower-power strummery, barbershop pep, and doo-wop savvy, can be an acquired taste.
They've certainly enjoyed a career as curious as their music: Paul Simon championed the Roches after discovering them singing Christmas carols on the streets of Manhattan. (Maggie and Terre wound up appearing on Simon's 1973 album There Goes Rhymin' Simon.) The Roches recorded as a duo before Suzzy came aboard for 1979's self-titled album, a critically acclaimed effort produced by King Crimson's Robert Fripp. (WTF?)
Nonetheless, the threesome never reached beyond a cult audience and split in the mid-'90s, with Suzzy and Terre pursuing solo careers.
This year, though, the Roches reconvened for Moonswept, which is the group's most immediately appealing work in nearly four decades of making music.
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