Dala Best Day

Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine have come a long way since their high school days in Scarborough, ON, where they spent their lunch hours harmonizing together in stairwells and hallways. Five studio releases later, and an official debut into the U.S. folk big leagues after playing the 2009 Newport Folk Festival, the girls still maintain an aura of wholesome freshman innocence. Touted as the female version of the Everly Brothers, for their close harmonies and simple chords, Dala continue to conjure '60s pop-informed folk ditties on their latest, Best Day. The record's disposition is mainly cheerful and their quiet, contemplative pieces ("Not Alone" being a highlight) do little to weigh it down. At their best, Dala's strengths give rise to enchantingly wonderful confections ― "Lennon and McCartney" is smartly engaging in both melody and lyrics ― but as these strengths pass their tipping point they make parts of Best Day appear erratically manicured ("Father" smacks of Sarah Brightman) and cloyingly sweet ("Best Day"). Walther and Carabine's gifted songwriting and lovely harmonizing stand out best au naturel, without a great deal of primping or glossy production. In comparison to Everyone is Someone (their previous, more focused release), Best Day is agreeably placid. If you really want to be impressed, catch them live. (Universal)