Single: Big John Bates - 'Sister's Keeper'
No doubt utterly smothered in black clothing, Big John Bates bring us the pleasantly unusual sounding Sister's Keeper. They hail from Montana - which is a place I couldn't tell you anything about - and bring with them an intriguing sound which unmistakably makes me think of some kind of Gothic burlesque show, which I consider a massive compliment. The track opens ominously with unsettling strings and gradual momentum before kicking into gear. Bass player Brandy Bones picks up up the vocals here and has a wonderful American drawl to flavour the slightly more punky guitar with a bit of country. Gradually, we descend into the outro which treats us to a lot of different sounds merging together to make quite a Hellish sound to great effect.
The entire structure of the track is a little unorthodox and anything that isn't boring sits well with me. There's no verse/chorus/verse/chorus setup here; the start and the finish could well be mistaken for different songs entirely. The use of the fiddle at the ending is very welcome too. Considering how atmospheric it can be as well as being able to blend with a lot of sound, the fiddle is really underused in modern music. The Levellers should have taught us how pivotal it can be to a track. The bulk of Sister's Keeper is the symphonic middle section, whilst led by simplistic guitar it retains interest with a pounding beat before really allowing Brandy Bones to stretch her vocals out a bit. Genuinely, I was worried the end section might summon a demon from under my coffee table. Not that I would mind the company.
I like this track, it's a little different but not frustratingly pretentious and also quite self-aware. Musically, it's very tight and the lyrical content thankfully stays away from being overly preachy or vaudeville. I wish bands like Big John Bates had a little more exposure because I'm still unsure what The 1975 are trying to accomplish with their music, I just know I absolutely despise the banality of it.
Words of Jake Collins