Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Sister Ray – Teeth Review

Acclaim is hard to follow but fills artists yet to feel its sensation with envy for those who have. Sister Ray has already and rightfully received the plaudits of people in faux positions of brevity-clad crafts, but Teeth ruptures that bubble, for both artist and listener. A necessary boom for Sister Ray marks Teeth as a desire not to be static, not to hold those sad songs as just that, but to move them on. Next steps for artists are difficult and interesting, especially in these early stages of focus. Undeterred and determined is an essential pairing to hold, and Sister Ray has just that. The Canadian operating singer-songwriter goes for the jugular, and as difficult as it is not to make a joke out of the title, it must be prevented. It does no justice to how essential an EP Teeth really is. 

Moving, acoustic beauty in opening, title track Teeth, and the subtle prompts of percussion that slowly flow through the fabric of this track are bold signs of things to come. Those who have yet to experience Sister Ray’s work may as well start here, the blur of light bass touches and formidable lyrical ascensions is a glorious, momentum-shattering exploration. Stories from the islands of individuals, the hope for soothsayer predictions on how it goes with a person completely unknown. Teeth is an incredible opener, Sister Ray an incredible artist. Grifters identify themselves easily enough and where Sister Ray excels is in showcasing their lack of time for those falsehoods. Earnest and honest songwriting of the highest quality can be found here, with intimate consistencies documenting trivial pursuits of passion.  

Anyone can rattle it off, few can do it well, and even fewer can turn that splash of emotions into a formidable and delicate, rewarding EP. Four songs is more than enough to give a view of what Sister Ray can do. Pressing Down may be the sad song of the year so far, a loose and broad indicator of monotony and hopelessness in adapting luxurious and well-meaning writings. Teeth break down the high walls and cold hearts, ignite that passionate fire and kindle it well across four breathtaking, honest tracks. These are the emotional constants of the very best of the genre. Sister Ray presents powerful guitar work to glue those flurries of hopelessness together, even then a defiant voice bringing them to the forefront makes for hopeful assertations that, even when focusing on present heartbreak, focus on an appealing future. 

All Dogs Go To Heaven is a refreshing reversal of the sad hours which see people holed up under duvets listening to mood-setting songs which get the waterworks going. Sister Ray showcases tracks which fall under that intimate display of necessary crying but also flips it the other way, to express details and manage the relationship found on the other end, when the crying soul is on the other end of the oft-expressed inanimate villain. Not every story is so one-sided, and unfortunately, there are few out there like Sister Ray who understands the genuine charm which comes from a well-handled balance of intent in writing. Everyone a loser, except for the listener, with Teeth maintaining a winning stroke of romantic rejection and blissful writing. Those confident displays are assured on EP closer I Never Will Marry, as clear a message as it is a defiant statement for a fresh and exciting artist. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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