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Spellbinding Soul: Sister Speak’s The Stand

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It’s hard to imagine a voice more soulfully exquisite than Sister Speak’s Sherri-Anne.

A stirring confluence of Joni Mitchell and Sara McLachlan, Sherri-Anne possesses the poetic precision of the former and the aching beauty of the latter.

The British Columbia native is one of the most exciting and riveting voices in modern music and her band’s upcoming EP The Stand–which builds on the promise of their 2014 debut Rise Up For Love–should be all they need to catapult into the stratosphere.

A six-song offering, The Stand is a captivating blend of folk and electronica set against Sherri-Anne’s powerful voice and the results are nothing short of breathtaking.

The ruminative “New York Skyline” begins as a spare and wistful number and builds into a cascading soundscape that’s bigger and catchier than anything on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Later, with its building backbeat “Fighter” is a blast of achingly rueful pop, while “Do You Believe” which is gently flecked with a percussive synth-pop whip, finds Sherri-Anne declaring, “Everybody needs a little love sometimes.”

Meanwhile, against a swirling mix of world beats and acoustic guitars, the title track is a call for self-empowerment and personal advocacy. A roll call of physical and emotional strength, the song is one of the year’s most spellbinding and spiritually inspiring offerings.

The Stand finds Sherri-Anne in a questioning, existential mood and the probing “Walls” finds her asking, “Who’s going to save me/Who’s going to reach me/Who’s going to hear the walls come crumbling?” It’s as much a plea as it is a challenge and as the song swirls into a crushing pop lather, it’s clear that Sherri-Anne is willing to accept that the answer may not always be the one that we want.

The Stand is out in September.

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