Bitter:Sweet are a duo that was formed out of several coincidences. Ironically before the two met, they lived within a few minutes of each other in Los Angeles and often used the same recording studio at different times. The cause for their meeting was Shana Halligan responding to a local music ad (on craigslist) looking for a vocal performer for an upcoming project from Kiran Shahani. The two eventually met and immediately hit it off, settling on the details of Bitter:Sweet. Kiran Shahani creates the musical arrangements and handles the production, while Shana Halligan handles the vocals and melodies. Shahani executes most of the common orchestral instruments easily, with his most notable being his diverse use of brass instruments. Their musical style would fit well in an early spy movie, with Shahani’s diverse mixture of several genres (jazz, blues, electronica) mixing in very well with Halligan’s suave and effortlessly smooth vocals.

Their debut album, The Mating Game, released a few months ago and I’m surprised there hasn’t been more press about it. The title song is an immediate example of Halligan’s catchy vocal melodies and Shahani’s use of brass, strings, twinkling keys, and more. ‘Dirty Laundry’ starts out sounding like some college football theme song, until some string picking and an elaborate chorus dig deeper and begin to unravel a fantastic song. ‘Moving Forward’ takes advantage of a slower and elegant song structure, centering around Halligan’s emotionally melancholic vocals. Shahani stated that it was one of his favorite songs off of his album, and it’s not difficult to see why. Check out their new album, which contains several songs of fantastic quality and ingenuity.


Bitter:Sweet – The Mating Game



Bitter:Sweet – Dirty Laundry



Bitter:Sweet – Moving Forward



Official Web Site


Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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  1. Oh wow, I love their sound! Shana sounds like Nina Persson mixed with some Skye Edwards. I’m definitely buying this. Thanks for the introduction!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I love this band! Maybe they won’t be unknown for long. Looks like Microsoft has already clued in. Look at the black Zune.

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