Ultraísta, considered a supergroup by some, with vocalist/producer Laura Bettinson (FEMME/lau.ra), multi-instrumentalist/producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) and drummer/producer Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M., Atoms for Peace) have released new LP, Sister via Partisan Recrods. As anticipated with any project Godrich works on, there is much richness in this record, with many layers and ambience that washes with high production values. Sister is the group’s first album of new music in nearly eight years.
Much of the music on Sister grew out of sporadic improv sessions, with Godrich paring everything down to its bare essentials at his London studio space. The nine tracks that emerged create a cinematic sci-fi soundscape in same way that Atoms for Peace did, with Godrich’s contribution being audibly detectable. Behind Bettinson’s warmth and Waronker’s sophisticated percussion, Sister is easily the product to highlight the impressive and extensive careers of each band member.
in 2012, the band’s debut album was heralded as “a striking debut” [NME] of “exquisite depth” [Q magazine], while The Independent praised its “soaring Krautrock tinged synths” and The Guardian hailed its “stunning production”. Therefore, there was much anticipation for the band’s second LP, knowing the breadth of their skills. Sister is no disappointment. Ambient, warm, and yet icy, there is varied sound to this soundscape. Polished electronica, yes. Vocal reverb, yes. Glitches, but of course.
Tin King begins like a Rapture track, causing a racing heart-beat, building to a heightened sense of euphoria, a clear reminder of Nigel Goldrich’s skills. Anybody incorporates strings, percussion and delicate vocal to create something more discordant, the repetition and jarring disorientating for the listener. Ordinary Boy is reminiscent of Atoms for Peace, a riff not altogether new but with Bettinson’s vocal. Water in my Veins is a glitchy track with superbly refined percussion, Bettinson reaching higher notes than the rest of the album. Reflective with a sense of fragility juxtaposed with the dissonance, Water in my Veins is a stand-out favourite. An album that has many resemblances to Goldrich’s previous supergroups, Sister is obviously not a disappointment unless you are hoping for something different. However, if you’re like me and enjoy these sounds, get on and give this band/album a listen.
Sister is out now, via Partisan Records.