I like Sister, a band from the dirtier, punkier, more dangerous end of Sleaze Town. Indeed opening track ‘Destination Dust’ is as wild and aggressive as anything they’ve done, with a verse spat out and growled before the crunching riffs find flight and a somewhat tempered and soaring chorus mellows things out momentarily. Add to that a solo that’s wonderfully reminiscent of vintage Motorhead’s Fast Eddie and you have it all. This is going to be loud, and this is going to be fun.
‘Carved in Stone’ starts with the crackle of vinyl and a dark brooding vocal and rests on a great melody and some great dynamics it’s another great song. This time you feel that Sister has nailed it, it’s been two years since the really rather good ‘Disguised Vultures’ album and you can hear they’ve grown. There’s a more refined sound, and they’ve remarkably managed that without losing their edge.
Sadly though whilst consistent there’s nothing quite to match those first two blistering tracks. Saying that there are still plenty of goodies. ‘Lost in Line’ comes across a little industrial but with a big 80’s chorus and it almost works, indeed the more you listen the better it gets. Elsewhere tracks like ‘Trail of Destruction’ have that 80’s leaning but it’s always the spikiness and Punk that shines through and that’s a huge part of the appeal.
There are some surprises too – ‘Let It Bleed’ almost feels like a take on vintage Metallica meets early Sisters of Mercy, slow and mournful it’s a Gothic dirge that even supports keys as it guides you to dark places. ‘Carry On’ is just as surprising with its strummed intro and almost ‘epic ballad’ feel. The other ‘non-standard’ Sister sound comes from the rather fun blues-boogie based rumble of ‘Dead man’s Dirt’ which almost works had the chorus not been a seemingly tacked on Sunset strip singalong.
We close with a couple of the best: ‘Endangered Species’ gets back to what Sister does best and closer ‘Piece of Shame’ is a real punky party rocker to close with an almost Hanoi Rocks vibe to the chorus. You’re left with a feeling of a band torn between trying to be true to their roots and still expand their sound. It’s one of the hardest things to do and they pull it off in part, next time they might nail it.