Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
So help yourself, but you could no better than to fall in love with Hazel and Martha Brown, the sisters at the helm of the Australian trio, Otouto. They are two girls that you want to fall in love with, two girls who give you no goddamn choice but to fall in love with them. They make it easy on you, but the reason that you want to fall in love with them as nothing to do with their bookish and exceedingly comely appearances. It has more to do with the way that they'd reinforce you, remind you of the moment that you fell in love with them, without ever mention a thing. You can hear this in the way they write, as the songs on their debut album, "Pip," carry with them a sort of loneliness in their breathless electro-folk, but there's a fascination that seems to be drawn between love and it's graceful absurdity that leads one to believe that they tend to embrace the minute moments of time spent with someone they care for more so than others might. They sing that, "Falling in love is like watching a really long video," and perhaps that's a nod to the thought that falling in love - falling into really, truly, unquestionable, quantifiable and substantive love - takes a prolonged period of time, but like any video, there are those sections that drag on too long, others that are gone in a flash and then, whether you like it or not, it ends.
Otouto, which is rounded out by percussionist Kishore Ryan, take us into shutter-drawn sitting rooms and sunrooms, where two people are just fine being with one another. They are fine being anything around the other and there's a familiarity that could breed stagnancy, but under the right circumstances opens up a different existence, where songs like "Spot" come from. While not a song that stems from a happy coupling, the feelings contained within, the attention given to the littlest things that are missing, that are longed for, that are hurt for, as the Browns sing sweetly, "What if I wanted to start it/Who cares about the violence/Your body's like a blanket I want to wrap myself up in it/I miss the spot upon your shoulder/I want to feel warm," make us think that they are rarely those acting poorly while in love. They remind me of something that Yoko Ono wrote, detailing something that John Lennon did on one of the last few days that he was alive. He pulled her close, with the hands that she loved so much and whispered into her ear why he loved her, told her what he found beautiful and magical about her, all in few short seconds, before releasing her and going on with what they were doing at the time. It was a spontaneous exchange that Ono still cherishes to this day, for at the time, she was well into her 40s and women don't tend to be spoken to so amorously by their spouses at such an age. Everything is old and worn in, worn down, the same. We feel, when Hazel and Martha Brown sing, "The rain makes it sound like there's someone else around," amongst other things, that they would be the Lennon character who still finds beauty in an old love, during borrowed days when one would think there would be nothing left to say.