Part of the reason for the prevalence of second-album syndrome is the tendency of artists to cram every good idea they have into their debut, just in case it’s the only chance they get to make a personal statement. In the case of Midnight Sister, a Los Angeles two-piece who turned in a beguiling debut in Saturn Over Sunset three years ago, the well has evidently not run dry; Painting the Roses is a delicate tapestry of high concepts, one that takes an appealingly lax approach to genre boundaries.
Singer Juliana Giraffe travelled to Argentina in order to reconnect with her roots during the writing of Painting the Roses, something that bandmate Ari Balouzian subtly reflects in his compositions; he artfully inflects woozy opener ‘Doctor Says’ with a handsome, shimmering guitar, whilst on the experimental collage of ‘My Elevator Song’, noirish brass and strings clash with brooding synth work. It’s at those moments, where unlikely musical bedfellows are thrown together, that Painting the Roses is at its most engaging, with the more pedestrian likes of ‘Satellite’ and ‘Dearly Departed’ pleasantly evoking dream pop, but not in a manner that hasn’t been done better elsewhere. Intriguing, if not essential.
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