Review by Sophie Maughan
If you took a quick glance at the band name and got all excited thinking “oh, I didn’t know Andrew Eldritch et al had a new one out?” then you are in good company. That was exactly what I thought. Nope, we are not talking about The Sisters Of Mercy but don’t worry, there’s no need for any disappointment here. For what you are about to embark on is a transcendental journey of musical genres. Evocative and mesmerizing with an omnipresent heaviness that will slowly pound away at your skull without even realising it; Follow Me as a Ghost is truly music without barriers or boundaries.
Sisters Of… is the experimental project of Missouri-based multi-instrumentalist Aaron Coker (ex-Appleseed Cast, Reggie & The Full Effect) which according to their label bio, is a “reinvention” of the stereotypical band formula in which he has “handpicked a rotating cast of fellow colleagues to collaborate on Sisters Of… material.” Coker’s choice of companions on this self-produced EP are longtime writing partner / guitarist Chris Clark and bassist Isaac Khan and together the trio weave an aural tapestry of progressive sonic soundscapes.
Clocking in at over eight minutes long, opening track ‘In A Sea Of Red Strands’ is nothing less than epic. As those haunting, dirge-like moans begin to build and fill your ears, the effect is almost hypnotic. The dynamics shift unexpectedly within the first 30 seconds with the introduction of beautifully layered guitars before the drums kick in and add a brand new dimension. Chugging Neurosis-esque riffs inject a more traditional “metal” feel to the song but this later segues into an achingly melodic mid-section at around 04:25. The combination of whispered, inaudible vocals and those bittersweet guitars almost puts me in mind of Johnny Marr and the introspection of The Smiths’ alt-drenched indie.
Title track ‘Follow Me As A Ghost’ follows the same type of format with haunting melodies interspersed with soft distorted vocals that periodically make way for heavier (albeit powerful) guitars. The eerie feedback at the very end of the song continues into ‘Sister Faith’ and I must admit it makes for two and a bit minute of rather uneasy listening. I have seen it described as “a dreamy interlude” but an unsettling dream is probably a more fitting description! The juxtaposition of ethereal melody lines against the fuzz of those echoing screams will scare and captivate simultaneously. Whilst I enjoyed the deliciously dark stomp of ‘Sister Chance’ and its well executed orchestration, it is opus (and album closer) ‘Circle/9’ which gets my vote. Not only does it manage to retain the eeriness of the aforementioned tracks, but the listener is consistently surprised by the frequent tempo shifts and the effortless way in which quiet acoustics sit alongside chunky riffs and drum rolls. My only qualm is that the song itself seems to be on the cusp of something huge at various points. Unfortunately, the “drop” just doesn’t materialise and you find yourself wanting more despite the ten minute plus running time.
It will be interesting to see if Aaron Coker explores and develops his vision even further on the upcoming full length album and after hearing this EP, it is safe to say many others will do the same. Instrumental rock has never sounded so good.
8 out of 10
- In a Sea of Red Strands
- Follow Me as a Ghost
- Sister Faith
- Sister Chance