“MY BRILLIANT friend traces where I should end and where I should begin, and he touches me with all the need and the want that goes on between us.”
The opening line of ‘My Brilliant Friend’, which opens the second album from Saint Sister - Morgana MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty - sets out the thematic stall of the entire work, a meditation on various kinds of friendship and relationships, in all their complicated - sometimes wonderful, sometimes toxic - manifestations.
The gentle, understated lilt of the vocals, and the waltz rhythm are in contrast with the unsettling nature of the relationship described in the lyrics. Such contrasts define the album - lyrically and musically.
‘Karaoke Song’ was inspired by a fun night in a bar MacIntyre and Doherty had singing Tom Jones, but instead becomes a melancholy reflection on absence and the transitory nature of precious moments. ‘Date Night’ is one of Saint Sister’s most inspired pop songs, but its lyrics hint at darker thoughts going on beneath the surface of its melodic sweetness.
Saint Sister are part of a new generation of Irish musicians - of whom Daithí is another - who fuse traditional Irish music and culture with modern electronica, and reveal that both can be natural bedfellows.
‘The Place That I Work’ (with Lisa Hannigan ) and ‘Dynamite’ draw on sean nós and unaccompanied vocal forms of Irish song which fit beautifully with electronic backing. The closing two tracks go even further. ‘House 9’ is an Alan Stivell style harp piece, which segues into the Krafwerkian pulse of ‘Any Dreams?’.
Very Irish, very modern. Saint Sister are one of the sounds of now.