- 25 Jun 21
Irish duo return with striking self-produced second LP.
There has always been a deep-rooted power behind the soft-spoken approach of Saint Sister. From their early days, they proved that two young women and a harp didn’t have to equate to something twee, with the electronic-pop-infused Madrid EP in 2015, followed by the Choice Prize-nominated Shape Of Silence in 2018. With their new album, Where I Should End, the duo have tapped into the grit beneath the tranquility with more confidence and conviction than ever, to present a work that finds its strength in vulnerability, as a raw expression of power.
Although their ability to blur the boundaries between genres has always been a central aspect of their appeal, the new LP finds them taking this approach in a thoughtful new direction. From the disco flavours of ‘Karaoke Song’ to the soft Americana touches of ‘Date Night’, nothing about the fusion feels forced – rather, everything has a purpose within the soundscape, which feels more organic and tender than ever. The songs become multi-dimensional worlds to be explored, as landmarks on a journey that never feels jagged or rushed – moving poignantly from the cinematic ambience of ‘Oh My God Oh Canada’ to the stark acapella opening of ‘Manchester Air’. The latter track, a moving depiction of an unplanned pregnancy, feels more indebted to the rawest roots of Irish folk music than any of their previous releases, particularly as it leads into the harp-centred instrumental ‘House 9’.
Relationships – of varying kinds – are at the centre of Where I Should End, with distance often serving as a destructive force. Although created before our current reality (the album was recorded in the winter of 2019/20 at The Meadow, Co. Wicklow), it’s a theme that feels more timely than ever, in an increasingly unsettled world. But it’s in Saint Sister’s portrayal of young adulthood, and their ability to find profound poetry on the back of bikes, on the northern end of Capel Street, and at drunken karaoke nights, that the extent of their powers truly shine. It’s in these seemingly mundane occurrences and run-ins that they find the reason to keep pushing forward, despite the uncertainty – passing that gift on to us in turn.
Read our interview with Saint Sister in the current issue of Hot Press – out now: