The world first got an earful of Saint Sister with 2015's Madrid EP. But later this year the Irish duo will offer a full-length experience with Shape Of Silence, whose first single “Twin Peaks” is premiering exclusively below ahead of its May 11 release.
“It's the culmination of three years of writing and playing together, and on a deeper level, actually really getting to know one another,” the group's Gemma Doherty tells Billboard. “Morgan (MacIntyre) and I only met three and a half years ago. It's such an intimate thing, working so intensely with one other person. We could have released it a long time ago, but it would have been very different. We didn't want to just throw together the first batch of songs we had written; We wanted to push it and make something that we were really proud of, that made sense as a piece of work.”
The ethereal “Twin Peaks,” meanwhile, represents a different stylistic approach than Saint Sister has revealed before, and which is echoed on the 12-track album, produced by Alex Ryan (Hozier).
“There is a lot of space on the record, which is reflected in its title Shape of Silence,” Doherty says. “The first half leans a little poppier than we've leaned before, and it becomes a bit more introspective as you move through the album, where we've allowed more space for experimentation. Loosely speaking it's deeply rooted in Irish traditional and folk music, with influence from minimalist and electronic music.”
Doherty adds that Ryan's home studio in Kerry, Ireland, also played an important part in making the album, as well as other singles such as last year's “Tin Man” and “Causing Trouble,” which came out earlier this year. “Our music and sound has really grown out of that studio,” she says. “When we first recorded the Madrid EP we were all taking a chance on each other. It was all of our first ventures into this. We found a really good energy between the three of us, and over that course of time have started trusting each other’s instincts a bit more and getting comfortable pushing the boundaries.”
The “Twin Peaks” track, meanwhile, is “deeply steeped in denial but entirely blissful,” according to MacIntyre. “It's an instinctive reaction towards a friend who was going through a difficult time. What I wanted to say was, 'Let's just do all the things we enjoy, let's block out the rest of the world, let it just be us for the next while and don't worry, we don't have to think about anything that will upset you.'” The song also name checks “a lot of things I love,” MacIntyre says, including the TV show that gave the song its title, Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill, marmalade and Fifteens, a Northern Irish tray bake. “It's me throwing everything I can in front of someone to distract them, to distract myself,” MacIntyre explains. “It's an act of desperation but also one born out of a lot of love and good intention.”
With Shape Of Silence due out this fall, Saint Sister is planning to be in North America by September, with dates in Europe and Australia to follow. MacIntyre adds that the duo also has “a couple of exciting things in the pipeline which we can't announce just yet, but we're really looking forward to the year ahead.”