Spotlight: Saint Sister – “Madrid” / “Blood Moon”


Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre are having a catapult of a year with their project Saint Sister – their debut television performance on TG4 in Ireland saw them opening for Will Butler of Arcade Fire. A tour earlier this year saw them supporting San Fermin and, later, Spies. They’ve been hard at work on their debut EP, Madrid, and have so far shared two tracks in advance: “Blood Moon” and “Madrid”.

The former sees a bit more of a dark vibe – something we might hear coming out of the American South as much as Ireland. This dark folk might owe a bit to the recording process happening with Alex Ryan of Hozier; certainly the drums are familiar to fans of the band. Saint Sister adds a deft touch to this aesthetic though – their voices expertly weave and interact throughout the song and they quietly pull back before diving into the chorus. The harp adds another layer and they use it in a way that might draw comparisons to Active Child which, while more accurate than a Joanna Newsom comparison, still feels a bit lazy – Saint Sister adds a much more restrained element to the mix, owing to their background in Celtic harp traditionals.

“Madrid” is a softer track, lyrically, but the production is much more electronic. “I’m glad I don’t know where you go when you’re alone. / I would only meet you there,” MacIntyre and Doherty sing in unison over a cold beat of processed vocals beafore allowing the harp to take over and melt the icy track, turning the track into a warm love song. “I could never keep you there,” they sing after all their promises – heartbreak looming in after a subtle key change.

The Madrid EP is out on November 13th via Trout Records. The rest of this year sees the duo supporting O Emperor and Wyvern Lingo in the UK.

/-Ethan Brown

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