Near the end of the film Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones covers up her torn hose and pleads to Renée Zellweger, "One jazz killer is nothing these days, but two...." In a scene saturated with female solo artists, maybe the Labbadia sisters, like the Nervo twins, are on to something. Melissa and Jessica make up the dance pop duo L2, although their roots go back to musical theater (both appeared in an award-winning Off-Broadway musical in 2009, Melissa in the lead), and their first two dance singles have breached the top 20 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart, first "Boys or Girls" (#10; basically Katy Perry's "UR So Gay" set in a club) then "Insomnia" (#16), an earworm which was my first introduction to the pair. The latest single the sisters are promoting is "Limitless," a feel-good dance anthem that cleans up most of the rough edges of emerging artists' music and sets a solid ground for the engaging singers going ahead.
"Insomnia" was an interesting piece, one of those where the verse is more interesting than the chorus (which is fine). The swelling chords over an instantly captivating synthesized 808 beat provided good backing to lyrics like "the clock on the wall keeps ticking me off" (get it?). "Limitless" (available for free download) is more of the "Firework" variety, with lyrics like "build a wall, we're gonna tear it down." It makes better use of the two as a pair in terms of harmonics, back-and-forth lead vocals, and the air of togetherness the song promotes ("Insomnia" could have been done just as well by a solo act). It's a good step, since a sister act needs to be doing something with the extra person aside from just allowing for half the work when it comes time to record backing vocals. It does run a bit long...in fact just before the fadeout one of the girls laughs "It goes on forever!" One of the benefits of their musical theater training is that the girls have big, solid, resonant voices that adeptly modulate through different intensities and allow the listener to feel on firm melodic ground.
"Limitless" doesn't blaze trails, nor does it need to; it's like nailing your first five-paragraph essay. L2 has mastered the basic form and can now play with it as they wish. It's fun to witness a dedicated new act learning the ropes and improving before your eyes and ears as they do. And, frankly, the song makes me smile, and that's impossible not to appreciate.
L2's single "Insomnia" and 2011 album Beautiful are available now.