Ultraista – Sister (2020) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Ultraísta – Sister (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 42:31 minutes | 524 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Partisan Records

Ultraísta release their first new album since 2012’s self-titled debut with the release of Sister. It’s a collection that defies easy categorization, and one that proves that Ultraísta – Grammy-winning producer / engineer / musician Nigel Godrich, best known for his two decades helming Radiohead’s groundbreaking studio output; celebrated drummer Joey Waronker, who’s toured and recorded with everyone from R.E.M. and Beck to Roger Waters and Elliott Smith; and singer Laura Bettinson, an acclaimed solo artist whose work combines synth-driven electropop and dreamy vocal looping — is far more than just the sum of its remarkable parts.

The follow-up to the indie electronic trio’s 2012 eponymous debut, Sister sees Laura Bettinson, Joey Waronker, and Nigel Godrich delivering another evocative set of glacial soundscapes and cosmopolitan beats that syncopate with the discomfort of the times. Fans of Godrich’s production work and Waronker’s versatile session drumming prowess will find familiarity in Sister’s wobbly beats, cascading synths, and Baroque-electro-pop melodies, many of which echo the former’s work with Radiohead and solo Thom Yorke, and the latter’s contributions to the Radiohead frontman’s other side project Atoms for Peace. Built from a series of improv sessions, the meandering nine-track set rewards repeated listens. Highlights arrive early on with “Tin King,” “Harmony,” and “Anybody” setting a steady and swirling pace; the latter track sees Godrich applying layers of abbreviated strings a la A Moon Shaped Pool. Elsewhere, a shifting Motorik pulse drives “Ordinary Boy,” elevating the track beyond a sterile CPR jam, the restrained, slow-burn instrumentation on “Mariella” allows Bettinson some space to shine, and the knotty early moments of “Bumblebee” make way for a lush and armhair-raising chorus that earns its icy pristineness. Consistently hypnotic, yet rich with sneaky melodic shifts, Sister’s rich sonic architecture, which includes Bettinson’s anodyne vocals and stream of consciousness wordsmithing, is its greatest selling point. – James Christopher Monger

1. Tin King (03:55)
2. Harmony (04:41)
3. Anybody (04:12)
4. Save It ’til Later (04:22)
5. Ordinary Boy (04:50)
6. Mariella (05:11)
7. Water in My Veins (05:16)
8. Bumblebees (05:17)
9. The Moon and Mercury (04:47)