Review: Enter Aly & AJ’s voyage into the sun kissed desert

“With Love From,” Aly & AJ (Aly & AJ Music)

Disney starlets-turned-indie sister duo Aly & AJ return with a new album, storytelling their way through a big American road trip into a ’70s dreamy and electric landscape through the sun kissed desert.

In the duo’s album, “With Love From,” they demonstrate their ability to make their familiar indie-pop sound reminiscent of a time in music where rock stars delivered subdued confessionals — longing for love or coming alive staying up all night on a tour bus traveling across the country.

The sisters sound stronger as they ever have as a duo as they let go of ’80s style-synth production to let their voices breathe on the more stripped down, folksy Americana-inspired 11-track album.

“With Love From” simply starts off with the country-infused track “Open to Something and That Something Is You.” The perfect song to serenade a lover, twinged with longing, desire and an open heart to love. “After Hours” is a folk song the duo wrote about the idle time that comes with being up at the late hours during their transient musician’s lifestyle.

“Blue Dress” takes a softer approach with the sisters singing close to their mics crooning that they’ve been missing and dreaming of their lover. “I don’t care who you’ve been kissing/Cause I’ve been doing some kissing too/I just care that you get here,” Aly & AJ sing.

Grounded in hearty acoustic guitars, sweeping drums and breathy vocals, the sisters sing from a place of confidence and self-assurance in one of the standout songs in the album, “Sunchoke”: “I’m on the run/I’m so mad at myself I could choke the sun/I feel the heat and it’s burning up the soles of my feet.”

They close out “With Love From” with the stripped-back songs “Baby Lay Your Head Down” and “6 Months of Staring Into the Sun.” The latter is a five-minute ballad accompanied by a piano about a drive through California with a lover: “Boots on the dashboard, laughing at nothing/You’re all I need, but we’re running on empty.”

The song bursts with drums and electric guitar in the last minute and the sisters sing “All that I need” on repeat until the metaphorical car they’re driving in glides into the sunset — perfectly encapsulating the end of a more subdued album from the duo that allowed them to create music to a larger bright and loving cinematic narrative.

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