Sisters titleThere’s a lot to like about this first studio piece from Mama Moonshine, certainly enough to hint at interesting possibilities for the future. But, first things first, the band members are: Ruth Armitt (vocals), Phil Taylor (guitars), AB Benson (bass) and Mark Buckwell (drums) and they’ve been playing around London for a while now, building up a live following and “Sisters” is the first single.

We’re eased in to the song with a languid bass riff and some clipped, toppy funk guitar before Ruth Armitt makes an appearance with a very distinctive voice which is part Billie Holiday and part Carleen Anderson; it certainly got my attention immediately. The theme of the song is growing up, moving on and finding new friends and the lyrics work well with the melody and the band’s sound, but there’s something that doesn’t quite work.

It feels like the band have tried to cram several styles all of their dynamics into one three-minute song and the effect is a bit like cramming a three hundred page novel into two paragraphs. In the second half of the song there’s a series of two-bar passages where the instruments drop in and out which, for me, doesn’t really work at all. It feels a bit like an attempt to cram in a little bit of everything into three minutes when the song might have been better served by simplifying the arrangement or stretching things out a little to extend the song and escape the claustrophobic feel that the series of sudden changes in dynamics and arrangement create.

I’m certainly not saying it’s a bad song, but I think it needs a little more room to breathe than it’s allowed here.

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