You may not have heard of Saint Sister yet, but I’m certain you will. Irish duo are only on their first EP and yet Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty have managed to create a beautiful, coherent, and completely unique sound on their debut, Madrid.
The EP opens with the title track, and immediately the lister is immersed in the delicate and inventive harmonies, rhythmic strength, and sumptuous harp-playing that define the band’s sound. Madrid also showcases the electronic influence on the band, which isn’t so obvious on other tracks, as well as their simple yet poetic lyrics. The especially loved the line: “I’m glad I don’t know where you go when you’re lonely / I would only meet you there”.
Castles exemplifies the band’s allegorical and story-telling talents, discussing the speaker’s loving yet difficult relationship with her family. The harp on this track reminds me of a more downbeat, early Florence + The Machine (I’m thinking Cosmic Love era), with the melody floating above it. On Blood Moon, the pair’s harmonies are deployed to create an eerie yet hypnotising effect. “I gave my lover food to eat / But she left it at her feet / She is always doing that” is a startling image, connoting a goddess of some sort, which fits with the pagan feel of the song. The melancholic reflections of Versions Of Hate culminates in a gorgeous high note at 2:51 with the line “You ask me if I love you / I’ve been wondering that too”.
It could be the Irish link, but there’s something in the soft strength of Saint Sister’s vocals that reminds me of Sinead O’Connor, while their lush production would sit comfortably next to Bon Iver on a late night playlist. All in all, this is a beautiful EP; the inventive harmonies and gorgeous vocals are its greatest strength, but there are so many other factors to recommend the band: their thoughtful lyrics, captivating melodies, use of harp, and rhythmic control. I reiterate: you may not have heard of them, but you will.