Category Archives: review

Sistersound review, circa 2004

We’ve gone back to Rock and Roll. Popular music has once again recognised the simplicity, fashion and velocity of the once was devil, only this time it’s in over abundance and over-over hyped. Performed by a full fledged fleeting army of flippant youngsters with carefully tailored hair do’s, this year’s in thing will next year probably be gone. The bandwagon will crash and the new baby of genius marketing will begin its growth into stardom.

Sure, Sistersound happen to be creating their signature racket while all this who-ha is going on, but they take the same fundamentals of rock and roll and do something more flexuous, more mature with it. The speed, distortion and ferocious playing are all there, yet there is something more, say a sparcity and an interplay of a thorough range of dynamics and volume which coerce the sister sound to that of the post punk attitude.

The truely great post punk bands will always be sure to include the listener into their composition, luring them in in some way, usually by providing them with moments where their immagination reigns supreme, in a vast platform or maze of sound they will themselves get through, by being guided aurally. Sistersound songs always begin with an introduction of instrumental evocation of emotion. This is always the impetus for the vocals to decide it is time to elaborate on a theme. Lead singer Eve will sing a glimpse of a story or a remark, not going too far as to spell out the scene, and then stop, letting the instrumentation carry that image further. The next part of the picture is then played to us to imagine, stepping over stones that lead to vocals again, and cement the songs gist and meaning which the instruments then carry, with the listener to the closed curtain. It is a perfect strategy for a band who wish, and are able to carry off such a precise game of musical cat and mouse, by providing a narrative of sound, words, image and uncertainty, much like the art of film. Just as film paces itself with the tool of editing and prides its art on gluing individual frames to make a complete image and then story, so do Sistersound. The deluge of textures, volumes, speeds and timbres incorporated are all carefully placed and put together in such a way as to galvanise the movement and mood of a song into a rich entity.

There is something tedius and unoriginal about songs who so rigidly pertain to the basic structure of verse, chorus, bridge yada. And there is something too predictably sing a long and pop about it. Sistersound only make changes in songs when it is necessary. When vocals suddenly make way for noise, who soon decides to let trickles of sporadic silence-slash-quiet through the door, it is because that need of expression has come knocking. A certain sophistication lurks in these songs that do not take comfort in simplicity and fun lyrics you can bob away all the troubles in your head to. Eve remembers conversations, wants to escape with a lover, finds things beautiful and claims disbelief, spreading these judgements over various beds of minimal guitar plucks in obscure tunings and slow drum beats and around gardens of distortion and wildness. Perfect post punk remedies for a mind struggling to make sense of a beaten world and ones place in it.

Live, Sistersound are active balls of energy who wrestle with their instruments and play them with maximum effort and volume. They really are a breath of fresh air. Yes, that dissonant juxtaposition of oscillating texture and timbre have been around prior to Sistersound, and their sound may be likened to bands such as Polvo and June of 44, but Sistersound have a history, dynamic and understanding of musicianship that takes them further into uncharted territories that we hear so little of today.

— Romy Hoffman

Confessions of a double life

Played a basement show at the infamous Li Po Lounge in Chinatown, San Francisco, on February 29th, 2004 (leap day!), with Appreciation, Vomica, and Naan.

Here’s a little excerpt from Aku Aku about the show:

After a dinner break, we switched venues to the Lipo Lounge n Chinatown where Sistersound was playing a basement show. I’ve seen this band once before and was looking forward to a second chance. They stood up well the second time, even better than I remembered, now I’m looking forward to the third opportunity. As they say, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” so I’ll just say check their site for some music, or even better go see them live.

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