Sheila McQueen is a confusingly titled new London duo, made up of sisters Genevieve and Jessica Arnold. Curious naming conventions are de rigueur in pop music, of course. Another such situated (but unrelated) pair never did work in a pet shop, and look how things turned out for Messrs. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, performing at the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics, rumor has it.
The Arnold Sisters (see, too stodgy of a ring to it) grew up in the 1980s, so their childhood was soundtracked by some not-so-shabby music, including personal favorites Madonna, Prince, The Human League, and Talking Heads. After years of classical training (Genevieve and Jessica) and some jazz adventures (Genevieve), the sisters have now come together as Sheila McQueen, inspired by the synthpop sounds that fueled their formative years.
Produced by Bacon & Quarmby (Pretenders, Sugababes), Sheila McQueen have debuted their first single, “Paris,” an intricate pop ode to the City of Lights that features some actual French (“Ne me quitte pas”). The sisters’ intertwining vocals conjure up Dubstar’s Sarah Blackwood, with a slight touch of Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell. Que Sarah, Sarah (which isn’t French at all, but Spanish, and barely that).
“Paris” will have you wishing you were twirling your umbrella along the Champs-Élysées or enjoying a leisurely afternoon at a sidewalk cafe. But as Genevieve and Jessica gamely demonstrate in the music video below, there’s no need to hop a train or a plane to conjure a certain je ne sais quoi. I’ve fallen in love with Sheila McQueen, curious name and all.
Sheila McQueen – “Paris” (featuring B-side, “Beyond Repair”) is out August 27.