Imaginary Friends

Imaginary Friends

Imaginary Friends

Fragile Illusion

Count the number of rock bands with two female leads who are equally gifted. Unless you have a computerized listing of all the musical groups that ever existed, chances are you can’t fill two hands. The good news is that Imaginary Friends can be added to this rare breed. Like Heart and Indigo Girls, Imaginary Friends feature two front women — Stacy Robin and Donna Rawlins — who sing with beauty and grace.

It’s a bit startling to hear an album as pristine and gorgeously melodic as this in 2005. If you thought that carefully constructed and tasteful pop music was out of fashion, think again. Imaginary Friends swim within the borders of Adult Contemporary and Adult Album Alternative. They have the sweetness and clarity of the former and the stylistic bravery of the latter. This is a band that doesn’t settle on a single groove. On “Comes Around,” Imaginary Friends flirt with country, but then abandon the southern harmonies on subsequent tracks for ear-friendly acoustic rock.

However, the biggest selling point of Imaginary Friends is the singing of Robin and Rawlins. Their chemistry is stunning; their voices blend like the flapping of angel wings. It’s hard to choose particular highlights, because the album is so strong from beginning to end. The vocals of Robin and Rawlins cast a glow around on each song. “Wicked Ways” and “Turn Around” are irresistibly charming. Add this among the year’s best.

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