A new pop duo is is quickly battling their way up the charts with familiar faces but an otherwise unfamiliar sound. Dove Cameron and Ryan McCartan are best known for their roles on television. Cameron’s newest success on the entertainment scene is “Liv & Maddie” — a popular Disney Channel original show in which Cameron plays both of the main characters, who are twins. McCartan also appears on the show as the character Diggie. McCartan will also appear as Brad in Fox’s television remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The duo first began by posting covers on a YouTube channel in 2014, then they officially announced their band the following year. Their debut extended play “Negatives” was released July 29, 2016. It includes six original songs totalling approximately 20 minutes. “Negatives” is said to illustrate as camera negatives would the struggles in the duo’s (now an engaged couple) relationship as well as the positives.
This isn’t to say that the album is filled with more sap than our local maples. Rather, the two have taken their music and put an electronic/contemporary spin on it. The intro to “Negatives” — the song “Make You Stay” — certainly reaches out to those in the friendzone, starting off with both voices coming off in a jazzy manner with a steady pulsing backbeat. It continues with a back and forth from each singer, presenting both sides of their longing. This song can serve as a confidence boost in any moment.
Its follow up “Glowing In The Dark” serves as more of a sexy thriller. The official music video is on point in setting this to the tale of a ghostly encounter. This single also happens to focus more on McCartan’s deep vocals, giving it a dark, tense feel. To add to this darkness, there are several areas in which the vocals are paused and the background is full of a low base beat.
“Gladiator” is introduced with a running water-like sound effect, coupled with the two singers harmonizing. This song is pure encouragement and support tailored for your day. A very welcoming factor is that a large portion of the song does not focus on the song’s effects. Their natural ranges are truly prominent.
Cue the Spanish guitar, poet snapping and the electric bass guitar then finish with claims of independence! “My Way” captures the essence of aggravation and empowerment when making a decision to better yourself or do something your own way. This song describes how we experience our individuality and choose to pursue it through our decisions.
“Cry Wolf” is probably my least favorite single on the album. The sound seems reminiscent of early 2000’s female pop artists. Though a nice taste of the past, I appreciate the more modern work that you encounter with their first few songs.
Their last song, titled “Monster,” sets you up for a darker mood. This almost remorseful song was created to depict the torrent of emotion experienced when determining how healthy your relationships may be. This song was originally designed for a movie the two singers were shooting together and though it didn’t make the cut in television it did on CD. This single incorporates something of a tone twist, where the artist sets you up to hear particular notes (higher or lower) and deliberately uses the opposite which is becoming a more popular tool and can be heard on newer albums and singles from artists such as Andy Grammer.
Both a recipe for love as well as a glimpse into what love looks like, “Negatives” is the embodiment of Cameron and McCartan’s passion and spontaneous romance. It genuinely has a song for every moment.