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Midnight Sister

Saturn Over Sunset


Sep 21, 2017 Midnight Sister Bookmark and Share

Midnight Sister sound like a lot of things, but the one constant is their swagger. The debut collaboration between singer and lyricist Juliana Giraffe, and classically trained composer Ari Bazoulian is a kaleidoscope of colors pulled off with a beautifully baroque strut. It’s experimental art-pop that doesn’t forget to entertain along the way.

A paean to the weird corners of Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, there’s a good-time feel running across Saturn Over Sunset. It’s easy to imagine Giraffe and Bazoulian in a number of places: up on a cabaret stage, entertaining on a busy street corner, banging out the tunes on a piano in a packed gin joint. Wherever it is, the show comes steeped in style.

As befits a debut jumping between instrumentation, tempo, and genre, there are missteps along the way. Sometimes the restless skipping about produces half-formed tracks that throw a lot into the mix without actually mixing it properly.

However, for every “The Crow” there’s something to counter it. The drum fills in the second half of “Leave You” bring it to a triumphant conclusion while “Shimmy” ends with a smooth bass jam and “So Young” opens as a tender acoustic folk song.

Then there’s “Blue Cigar” which is not only the album standout, but one of the songs of the year. Underscored by a ridiculously funky groove, Giraffe’s voice strides through, breaking into deliciously controlled whispers along the way. When the saxophone sounds out, everything heads off into the stratosphere, a difficult place to come back from when only on track 3 of 14.

Nothing can match that peak which leads to a degree of anti-climax, improved by just enough good stuff to carry through to the end. As far as experimental debuts go, Saturn Over Sunset is an experiment worth repeating. (www.midnightsister.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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