Named after a small island on Lake Erie and not the, stereotypically, forgot middle child, Windsor’s Middle Sister have flushed out a sizeable and lush folk soundscape in their debut self-titled EP. Between the warm, wood covered album art, and the five-piece band’s abilities to create sweeping instrumentals, it seems easy to make connections between Middle Sister’s music and the physicality of the land itself – or maybe they were aiming for that.
In any case, although five members is a pretty sizeable band, Middle Sister inject their music with a depth that makes them sound like a much bigger fleet is part of the music making. The EP as a whole feels like it is distorted slightly, padded with an extra layer of lush sound effects to kick up their already dreamy and harmonized folk sound.
The opener, “The Old Man” slips right into its all instrumental successor, “The Sea” (a nod to Ernest Hemingway, I imagine). Both embodying a moodier vibe and employing a violin, played by Stu Kennedy, with great success, “The Old Man” is quicker than one would imagine, driven forward by some fast guitar picking and mandolin playing until a hefty percussion section takes the song to a different place.
With all songs but “The Sea” clocking in at over four minutes, Middle Sister is able to travel far in just one song. Middle Sister weaves between more simplistic instrumental sections to heavier folk-rock elements for an overall interesting collective sound that is one of the strong parts of their EP. The seven minute closer “Son of the Plains” for instance, builds to a loud electric guitar reverb section that, when you escape it, a whole different and more rock based vibe ends the record.
While the band’s vocal performances are often compromised by the depth of their instrumentals, “Maudite” has a welcoming balance between the two for the standout song of the EP. Colin Wysman and Kaitlyn Kelly are able to harmonize nicely in a song that is bookended by the softer side of the band but again, is not afraid to venture further in terms of the song’s overall pace and style.
(Again, pardon the generalization middle children!) Middle Sister is a band that is worthy of some attention.
Top Tracks: “Maudite”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)