During The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Noel Gallagher – one of this ace HBO doco’s talking heads – observes, “When you’ve got brothers singing, it’s like an instrument that nobody else can buy. You can’t go buy that sound in a shop.” Amen, brother! But obviously such flawless blood harmonies are not gender-specific, so we decided to collate five sublime examples of sisterly symbiosis for your listening pleasure.

Vika & Linda

During My Heart Is In The Wrong Place – the second single to be lifted from The Wait, Vika & Linda’s first album of original material in 19 years – Vika sings, “Just don’t give up the chase,” which accurately describes the tenacity of these extraordinary singing sisters who continue to enjoy career longevity.

When Kate Ceberano inducted Vika & Linda into the 2019 Music Victoria Hall Of Fame, she rightfully rhapsodised about “our Tongan queens” during her speech. We’ve always been in awe of their peerless sibling harmonies, but it’s been delightful to watch the Bull sisters strutting into the spotlight with purpose after being the background singers of choice for many legendary Australian acts – including Paul Kelly and The Black Sorrows – over the years.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to behold V&L gracing a stage since their recent career triumphs – topping the ARIA Albums Chart for the first time ever in 2020 with their ‘Akilotoa anthology, following this up with a gospel collection, Sunday (The Gospel According To Iso), which peaked at #2 (read our review here), later that year and then releasing The Wait (with songwriting credits that read like a who’s who of Australian music royalty: Kasey Chambers, Paul Kelly, Glenn Richards, Chris Cheney, Bernard Fanning… read our review here), which also reached #2 – you’d have to agree they just keep getting better and better (even though we wouldn’t’ve thought this were at all possible)!

Masters of unison singing – during which Linda’s soulful-sweet quality wonderfully complements Vika’s more gutsy, powerhouse delivery – this much-loved vocal duo are finally enjoying the level of success they so richly deserve and we’re totally here for it.

Read our interview with Vika & Linda about their massive record of last year, The Wait.

Mel & Kim

Another fine example of sibling unison singing, British sisters Mel and Kim Appleby enjoyed a string of hits in the late ‘80s – Respectable, Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend), F.L.M. and That’s The Way It Is – before Mel tragically died of pneumonia, following cancer treatment, in January, 1990 (aged just 23).

Prior to their music career, Mel was working as a model in a nightclub when she was approached by a U.S. producer who had previously worked with Aretha Franklin. He asked Mel if she could sing and, if so, whether she perhaps had a friend she’d like to form a singing duo with. After checking that Mel’s sister was also hot (gotta love the image-obsessed ‘80s, right!?), said producer set up a few meetings. But the hit-making trio Stock Aitken Waterman eventually wound up collaborating with Mel & Kim to create their distinctive, club-friendly sound, which infused irresistible pop sensibilities with cutting-edge Chicago house elements.

Following her sister Mel’s untimely passing, Kim embarked on a solo career, releasing her debut album Kim Appleby (1990), which was composed of songs she had co-written with Mel for what was intended to be the next Mel & Kim record.

We also distinctly remember coveting Mel & Kim’s stylish threads – urban streetwear with a high-fashion twist – while studying their film clips and stealing the synchronised dance moves they choreographed themselves. The order of priorities Mel & Kim spruiked through song – “Fun/ Love/ Money/ Boyfriends are boring…” – definitely appealed as well.

Zan & Sherine Abeyratne

Identical twin sisters Zan and Sherine Abeyratne got their start as members of soul ensemble the Band Of 1000 Dances (AKA Grand Wazoo) and often sang backing vocals for legendary bands including Models and INXS. Both siblings were also in a band called Mercy Mercy.

From 1983 to 1985, Zan supplied backing vocals for Models, was a member of Bang and joined I’m Talking as co-lead singer alongside Kate Ceberano (Zan provides lead vocals on I’m Talking’s 1986 single Holy Word). After releasing a handful of solo singles between 1989 and 1991, Zan changed the spelling of her first name slightly and released the self-titled Xan in 1995.

Sherine was a backing vocalist for Jo Jo Zep, fronted the mighty, percussion-heavy Big Pig from 1985 to 1991, and was also associated with The Editions, Bang, Big Choir, Bob Starkie Shape Up, Gospel Truth, Black Coffee, Dianna Boss & The Extremes, The Rock Party and Sherine’s X Machine.

Fun fact: Zan appears in season one of the children’s TV comedy series Round The Twist.

First Aid Kit

The sibling harmonies of Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, Johanna and Klara Söderberg, are undeniably exquisite. From the bedroom and forest jams they recorded as teens, First Aid Kit have gone on to release four EPs and five albums to date. Following the release of First Aid Kit’s debut album The Big Black & the Blue in 2010, Jack White invited the sisters to record a single at his Third Man Studios, which resulted in their cover of Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

First Aid Kit’s latest record, Who By Fire: Live Tribute To Leonard Cohen (2020), collates performances from their two-show run at Stockholm’s Royal Dramaten Theatre in 2017, for which Johanna and Klara were joined onstage by assorted guest artists, a string section and choir to pay tribute following the death of one of their primary influences and musical heroes.

Fun fact: The Söderberg sisters voice the mystical treetaur shamans, Little Tree and Big Tree, in Netflix’s new animated show Centaurworld.

Charm Of Finches

Melbourne’s enchanting sister duo Charm of Finches – Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes – basically cut their teeth as youngsters playing First Aid Kit’s entire back catalogue while busking outside their local veggie shop every Saturday morning. Ivy plays banjo and violin, Mabel plays guitar and cello, and both sisters also dabble in piano.

Charm Of Finches’ self-described “contemporary chamber folk” is further elevated by those hypnotic blood harmonies, the pair delivering songs inspired by their personal experiences of love, grief and nature. One of our personal fave Charm Of Finches songs, Where Do The Ducks Go?, was inspired by a scene from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

The sisters recently took home the trophy for Best Folk Act at the 2021 Music Victoria Awards, have released three records to date and continue to grace festival stages all around Australia, charming the socks off their ever-expanding fanbase with their haunting, often-melancholy tunes.