The cover of Both Girls' self-titled debut is so striking that when I saw it, I had to listen immediately. Kudos to photographer Nick Fancher for catching my eye and Both Girls for having the bright idea to put beautiful women on the front of the album. It worked.

The cover of Both Girls' self-titled debut is so striking that when I saw it, I had to listen immediately. Kudos to photographer Nick Fancher for catching my eye and Both Girls for having the bright idea to put beautiful women on the front of the album. It worked.

The music inside intrigued as well, at least until the first half's post-Postal Service melancholia faded into the sensitive-dude-with-acoustic-guitar sounds that round out the disc. It's not a brilliant album, but its opening sequence is seductive enough to keep sucking me in.

Those first six songs (plus that album cover and an equally arresting concert poster) drew me to Rumba Cafe last Friday to see if the live version of Both Girls would pique my interest, too.

Nope.

Frontman Andy Malone, a transplant from Oklahoma, paired with fellow Oklahoman Nathan Cates for the recordings. Live, the band expanded to five members, all of who launched into an a cappella spell of harmonic bliss to begin the show - not a bad start.

Beginning that way was like popping a balloon. Trouble was, after that the air rushed out and everything else came off limp.

For a band so adept at first impressions, I expected they'd frontload the setlist like they did with the album. Instead, they followed the a cappella number with one of the sub-Jars of Clay folk-pop tracks off the record's second half, most of which lack vibrancy and a fresh perspective.

Next came the catchy alt-rock update "Forming Words," which would be better if it was more synthy and less strummy - a typical theme with Both Girls. When Malone and/or Cates is manning a keyboard, the sonic palette expands and things get way more interesting.

That's why the likes of "Skeletal" and "Opening Night" fare so well on the album and why they could carry a concert if executed with vigor. Such tracks recall Pacific Northwest combo Menomena, a tech-savvy trio that consistently finds exciting ways to frame the restless, moody sorts of sounds Malone is kicking out.

Both Girls has the potential to be a band of that quality if they resist getting comfortable and learn to bring it live. For now, they're just a cool curiosity.