Sister John – Sister John

Sister John's eponymous sophomore record sees the Glasgow four-piece pushing doors with a new confidence

Album Review by Max Sefton | 29 Jan 2019
  • Sister John – Sister John
Album title: Sister John
Artist: Sister John
Label: Last Night from Glasgow
Release date: 25 Jan

Glasgow quartet Sister John’s Returned from Sea was one of the minor (and minor key) triumphs of 2017: a gorgeous, sparse, vocals-and-strings record with feather-light single Sweetest Moment, so it’s great to have them back with their sophomore record, released once again on the innovative Scottish label Last Night from Glasgow.

This self-titled effort sees the group pushing doors with a new confidence, from the rich distorted shoogle of opener Eight Years to the glossy fiddle and harmonies of Waiting for the Sun. Having met as members of The Parsonage Choir, the four-piece are all adept singers and their lush, layered vocals are a real highlight.

Lead singer Amanda McKeown lends a real tenderness to Airport’s refrain of 'with all my loving I'll be there before the dawn', while the strutting I’m the One swaggers like Transformer-era Lou Reed. For a band who have previously specialised in intimate gestures, it’s an unquestionably fun exercise in self-aggrandisement and a sign of the group’s blossoming songwriting abilities that they manage to pull it off in such an appealing fashion.

Tracks like Lost and Won are more typical of their rootsy origins, with Jonathan Lilley’s mournful slide guitar brushing up against dramatic strings. In fact, across all 11 tracks, what comes across is a keen sense of craft, channelling the timeless work of Dylan, Cohen and Reed into their own songs. You’d be a fool to sleep on Sister John.

Listen to: I’m the One, Airport