The Two Sisters |Stayte, 2007|
1. Hypoxia, 2. To Die Alone, 3. The Two Sisters, 4. Shangri-LA, 5. iEnemy, 6. The Screen Becomes A Blur, 7. Coming Apart, 8. Queen of The Old Ways, 9. Lady of The Lake
The Two Sisters album was finally released in 2010, however the music was recorded three years earlier. It contains many different vibes like a mix of alternative rock, industrial rock, experimental and metal on general, however these styles don't fully describe what the band presents. Songs alike, they are dominated by mercurial arrangements so you cannot expect any stable repetitive rhythms or cannot guess how the moods will change next. It seems to me though, the music on this album was as deeply thought out as on the other two albums Stayte released prior to this album.
The bands line-up it is still a duo: Joshua Bradford (lyrics, vocals) and Clayton Worbeck (guitar, programming, production,) but there are also guest appearances by Pat Labuda (drums), Derek Phillips (bass) and Bernard Ducrocq (analogue synths,) so the same team collaborated on the making of this album as did during the making of the Cognitive Dissonance release in 2007.
In addition, Joshua has been a musician in RevCo. You can check out his work by listening to albums put out after 2006, while Clayton has remixed music by many other artist including Ministry.
After listening to The Two Sisters album, I assume Canadian musicians move forward again by coming out with original ideas and making their own paths instead of copying others. I've underlined that fact before when I was reviewing music by various Canadian acts, but this observation applies to Stayte as well since they were formed in Vancouver, Canada.
First of all, when it comes to the content of the new album, I'd like to draw your attention to two shining songs - "Queen of The Old Ways" and "Lady of The Lake".
"Queen of The Old Ways" is a feast for your imagination, beginning with soft guitar tones sneaking and tiptoeing towards the point where the composition opens wide and brings up fantasy tales and mystic moods. Personally, I find this song the most complete and the most beautiful Stayte has ever published so far. "Lady of The Lake" sounds heavier, but catchy choruses and interesting arrangements made it significant on the album as well.
Next is "Hypoaxia", which has a short intro and sounds exactly like you'd expect Stayte to sound if you have ever heard any of their songs before - full of screaming vocals and changing moods. "To Die Alone" which is connected to the intro, brings up heavier tunes and a bit of what I would consider to be depressive moods. There's also a concentrated drum beat mixed with samplers in the classic style of Fear Factory.
The title song "The Two Sisters" has a rock style to its construction and is enthusiastically performed. Other than that, "Shangri-LA" is a track that I literally can't stand because it reminds me of those moaning European creations, where gothic music is connected to rock and metal which results in a disgusting mixture, but I guess it's all a matter of one's taste.
"iEnemy" comes next and is comparative to the sound of Skinny Puppy... If the band would have turned to metal music. "Coming Apart" is also a heavy song, but it is missing something inside and the elements making up the structure and body of the song could have been arranged better.
The Two Sisters album holds a mixed content and is not pure industrial rock music. This album is characterized by a wise mixture of metal, industrial, rock, gothic, alternative and sometimes progressive music, though I am not able to reflect upon the idea of the band, because Stayte's music slips away from any classification and similitudes. The band had worked out a distinctive sound reminding me for instance of Sonic Youth, The Talking Heads or The Residents which are difficult to pigeonhole.
In addition, I can't get rid of the feeling that there has been a female or even hysterical accent on all of Stayte's albums so far. The band has never worked with female musicians yet, but they don't make 100% testosterone driven music either. Nevertheless, you need to listen to the album for yourself if you want to judge it accordingly.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/27/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
PS. I got the digital version of the album for a review directly from the band. The European CD version is released by Spiralchords.