It’s no wonder Cruel Sister has become the talk of Dublin’s underground scene. When she began producing music from her bedroom in summer 2021, Faith Nico’s raw grunge anthems had all the makings of something special. The 26-year-old has since gone on to open up for local heroes Just Mustard and indie mainstays The Wombats, and establish her position as one of the city’s next great talents.
In keeping with her brief output to date, Nico’s second EP ‘Turgid’ is awash with a multitude of different sounds. The first curveball comes with the sweetened dream-pop opener, ‘As I Get Older’. The beauty lies in the track’s simplicity as folky acoustic strums accompany soothing background pipes. Lyrically, she contemplates ignoring her inner child via a heavy pang of coming-of-age turmoil: “I feel her hate me when I ignore her…”
After a solid 10 seconds of scuzzy distortion and Wolf Alice-like vocal yelps, a swirling psych-tinged guitar line tees up ‘Lenny’ which culminates in a breathless gasp. It’s delightfully murky stuff as Nico sings of her own frustrations growing up: “Lenny’s always been scared of rejection / Never puts herself out there, for her own protection.”
Nico’s biggest strength, though, is her ability to deftly channel her own trailblazing heroes. ‘Turgid’ gloriously unfurls in chaotic bouts of energy, showcasing the rebellious game-changing sensibilities of Kim Gordon or Ellie Rowsell. On the shimmering ballad ‘Wolves’, she sings “I’m a sucker for delusion”, bringing to mind the ethereal vocals of PJ Harvey, another artist who has harnessed darkness gorgeously in her work.
EP standout ‘Hands’ feels poised to dominate any festival main stage. Here, Nico unpicks intrusive thoughts and the need to keep up appearances with the world: “My hands carry all of my good thoughts / Bleeding, dirty, fighting the good fight.” Climaxing in an emotional purge of feral screams, you get the feeling that this is music Nico needs to be making.
There’s no denying that ‘Turgid’ shows an artist casting a wide net, but Nico is clearly having all kinds of fun throwing herself into new territories. This is a vital and daring second statement.
- Release date: September 29
- Record label: Is Right Records