SAD13 – ” Haunted Painting “

Posted: September 27, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

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Sadie Dupuis song writing has been a practice in poptimistic views through the complicated indie rock gaze. The best songs from her band Speedy Ortiz and are the ones where the hooks swing heavy even when knotted up in amp cords and wrought time signatures, and with her solo project outlet Sad13, tracks like “Get a Yes” made you wonder what her take on subversive accessibility might sound like in her hands. In recent years, it’s sounded like Dupuis has grown more comfortable with that notion – Speedy’s 2018 Twerp Verse had some of the best weirdo indie-pop jams out there that year – but “Haunted Painting”, her second effort as Sad13, is a different kind of ghost.

As someone who has proven over the last decade to be a diverse combined-forced creative in her roles as a songwriter, poet, activist and visual artist, one should expect by now for Dupuis’ work to reflect a lot of thought going on within it. Her past work in both band and singular form has often warred with itself in finding a balance between great production, an atypical pop ambition, sincere wokeness, and the pursuit of seeing her reflection actualized in a sound defined as her own, and Haunted Painting is that self-portrait that puts it all on the canvas.

Backed by an all-women collective of studio pros including the likes of Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin and Grammy winner Erin Tonkon as well as featuring guest spots from Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki, Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus and Pile’s Rick Maguire, Dupuis’ all-hands-on-deck project culls together engineers and musicians gifted in tweaking her electric indie-pop hexes into her own perfect spells. The cast does not deter from Dupuis as the focal point of “Haunted Painting”, and the way she wires together pop-rock with sharply-refined verbosity.

This especially comes in handy whenever she’s cutting down the patriarchy good wit as she does in the sci-fi synth pop anthemry of “Hysterical”, or drumming down bad behavior on “…Oops!” The most interesting aspects of Dupuis’ songwriting on Haunted Painted are how it goes further in colouring in her creative persona as something more than just using her voice to cause waves within socio-political currents, however. “Into the Catacombs” is an ornate orchestration that sets an ominous introduction for themes of loss, love, and loneliness backed by Roberto Carlos Lange of Helado Negro’s ghostly apparitions akin to every starting point on an …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead album. “Good Grief” and “Take Care’ showcase a duality in a new found confidence with quietness building within the heaviness of indie rocks rolling, as she turns to timeless stylistic designs well learned from Liz Phair’s latter work.

Where Haunted Painted ultimately ends up is in one of Sadie Dupuis’ best songs written to date. “Market Hotel” sends the album off in one last burst of big, frustrated exultation with its share of side-eyed disses after already exhaling her traumas, anxieties, and washed adult dirtbag ruminations from her soul before it. It’s a saccharine ripper that in less than two minutes compresses everything that Haunted Painting is in picturing every side of Dupuis’ songwriting craft within the same frame. “I’m working three fucking jobs, I’m too embarrassed to die,” she sings. The punchlines are deprecating and surely, Dupuis is tired of having to make them, but it doesn’t stop her from hitting them right on target every time.

Sadie Dupuis – guitar, bass, synths, organ, marimba, prepared piano, drum programming, vocals, production, arrangement

Haunted Painting, out September 25, 2020

 

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