- 10 Jan 19
Voices to melt the hardest of hearts.
Some albums require a bit of work before they surrender their glories to the listener, while others slip on easily like a favourite old coat. The latter is the case with with the debut album by Northern Irish duo, Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, trading as Saint Sister. Maybe it's because, despite being in our midst since 2014, they've taken the time to let the material gestate so that it's born into full maturity.
From the off, 'The Beginning' beds in their trademark velvet harmonies, wrapped in an ethereal Sigur Ros soundscape, and you soon realise that resistance is futile. There's an appropriate sense of compassionate frustration permeating 'Twin Peaks', and 'You Never Call' is a plaintive plea for contact from someone out there, with a touch of Sinead O'Connor in the gut-wrenching vocals. 'Tir Eile' is breathtakingly gorgeous and cool as a breeze, and 'Corpses' is truly chilling in its melange of vocal textures, which flit from gossamer whispers to sky-high harmonics against a cathedral backdrop. The snappy indie backing of 'Madrid' is snazzily dressed in fetching dark harmonics and undercurrents of enriching electronica, while the album title track is brimful of languorous indie-folk yearning.
Shape Of Silence was co-produced in Kerry by Alex Ryan of Hozier fame, and shows traces of influences from Enya to Villagers, Lisa Hannigan and Simon & Garfunkel. Indeed, Doherty and MacIntyre's vocals match so perfectly, at times they could be a single voice double-tracked and foregrounded against evocative sonic backdrops.
Several of their songs were written in Galway under the influence of the landscape, which is indelibly embedded in this uplifting album. You don't have to wait for end-of-year 'best of' lists to know what you need to do.