Creators of the self named genre “Atmosfolk” Saint Sister released their first EP last week “Madrid” is quite a stunning début into the musical world. Combining beautiful voices, folk instruments of old, a lot of harp and a lot of electronic percussion – Saint Sister’s sound is definitely their own and perfect for them.
“Madrid” opens the album with mid-tempo beats, angelic harp melodies and a collage of vocals between the duo. Some of it is traditional, some of it verges on operatic and siren-esque for the backing vocals. It’s catchy without having a proper grab-you hook. It’s crux is in the many layers of mini hooks that drive you towards something. “Castles” cranks up the atmosphere side of the folk with ambient beats, slow arpeggios of harp gently coasting by and a lot of what I call “dark Enya” synths. It’s folksy vocal delivery makes it really straddle across the genres and it takes a while to get going but is simply gorgeous by its end. The Irish influence shines here. “Blood Moon” was the single and remains the most immediate track on the EP. It’s catchy and has an Irish folk Bat For Lashes vibe going on – which could extend to the whole EP. It’s my favourite track here and I hope that the duo follow this more crossover route than going for ambient folk. “Versions of Hate” closes off everything with a folk ballad. It’s beautiful, delicate and the interplay between the soft guitars and vocals – and the sumptuous keyboards really works. For a soft track to have a relatively wordy lyric also makes for unusual listening as the duo sing “I’ve been making enemies with everyone but you” – it’s one of the few times there’s solace in the ballad. There’s quite a style change mid way too which throws things up nicely.
Madrid is a great entry into music and the sound itself cuts Saint Sister out as ones to watch in the future. Ensuring they can build on this and not become a one trick pony is key to their future success but these girls are a mega cult in the making.