Catch Them While You Can
Formerly known as Brother/Sister, siblings Sasha and Theo Spielberg have no laurels on which to rest, despite their famous parents. The duo has been performing together since 2010, building a following based on their talent and original mix of R&B and indie-pop. They recently changed their name to Wardell (Theo’s middle name and mother Kate Capshaw’s nickname) and were signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. In February, they released their debut album, Love/Idleness, and with it they appear ready to make their own name in the music industry.
Love/Idleness starts right in with “Funny Thing,” Sasha’s smooth voice sings over sparse instrumentation carrying Theo’s delicate melody. The rhythm has a slight backbeat, hinting at funkiness yet to come. “Dancin’ on the Freeway” has shades of ’80s new wave with a She & Him vibe to it. The title track delivers on the earlier promise of smooth R&B with its head-shaking, finger-snapping tempo underneath a narrative, bouncy tune. Wardell changes direction with the acoustic ballad, “Virginia, Wait,” highlighting the singer-songwriter-ness of the duo’s talent.
Halfway through Love/Idleness, you may start to hunger for something upbeat. “Act My Age” is uptempo without being too crazy. The rest of the album builds on that direction without breaking out. Closing number “Pray to the City” is about as rockin’ as Wardell dares to get, which is to say not very. However, by then you will have learned not to expect any burst of energy.
Love/Idleness also includes the song “Opossum,” the first that the duo wrote together. This track, which received some NPR airplay in 2001, highlights Theo’s ability to craft a memorable and interesting melody line. On this debut LP, the siblings show the world that they are talented performers and composers, but they appeared to play it safe. Hopefully, they will let loose with their next release, and when they do, it’s bound to be spectacular.