Sad13 - Haunted Painting Music Album Reviews

Sad13 - Haunted Painting Music Album Reviews
On the second album under her solo alias, the Speedy Ortiz frontwoman uses maximalist electronic pop to explore youth, self-perception, and a reckoning with the past.

Afew years ago at Seattle’s Frye Museum, Sadie Dupuis locked eyes with Saharet, painted by Franz von Stuck in a 1902 portrait. The famous vaudeville dancer is pictured in a green gown, a red rose in her hair, her lips slightly parted in a smile; upon first glance, she appears content. But dark shadows encircle Saharet’s eyes and her cheeks are ghostly white, a stark contrast. Drawn to Saharet’s enigmatic face, the Speedy Ortiz leader began thinking about haunted paintings, and then writing new music. In works like The Picture of Dorian Gray and Ghostbusters II, possessed artworks are often avatars for age-old themes like the mutability of the self and the thirst for eternal youth. Dupuis explores these sweeping ideas about art and existence throughout Haunted Painting, the fantastic, frenetic second solo album from her solo project Sad13.
Whereas Sad13 was previously Dupuis’ bucket for poppier Speedy Ortiz songs, Haunted Painting marks a clean break, a bifurcation of her musical personality. It’s Sad13 reckoning with her past, one she doesn’t quite recognize anymore. Recording at five different studios with five female engineers, Dupuis plays 18 instruments, including guitar, theremin, lap steel, glockenspiel, electric sitar, and “toys, trash, ephemera.” If that sounds exhausting, it sometimes is. Most songs are stuffed with diverging melodies and dense instrumentation. But Dupuis is such an adept songwriter and accomplished singer that the excesses are part of the appeal.

Take “Ghost (of a Good Time),” an anthem to aging out of the afterhours. Reaching the other side of 30, Dupuis looks back on nightlife as a “heavy fog, mistook for aura.” But sonically the song evokes exactly what Dupuis claims to abhor: Synthesizers soar, buzz, and twinkle over a jittery, syncopated drumbeat from Zöe Brecher, melding dance music and math rock. A good time in its own right, it’s a party song about being fed up with partying, in which the keyboards throb like an ice-cream headache—the consequence, perhaps, of too much of a good thing.

That incongruity is a neat trick, a bit of sleight of hand that Dupuis pulls across much of the album. As she lyrically paints vivid pictures of mental-health diagnoses, indie-rock misogyny, and disappearing from existence, she fills each canvas with endless layers of glossy, bouncy pop music, juxtaposing weary eyes with a smile.

Dupuis also knows exactly when to pull her foot off the gas. On “Market Hotel,” a comparatively straightforward rock song about confronting both the patriarchy and her self-perception as an adult, Dupuis sings, “I’m working three fucking jobs, I’m too embarrassed to die.” At that moment, most of the noise fades to make way for a heartbreaking moment of honesty, one of many on Haunted Painting. “What a dream when you float out of sight/Dragging the haze that cloaks the morning to decimate my life,” she sings in the final chorus of “Oops...!” as the herky-jerky drums, fuzz guitars, and plonking organ melt away. For a few seconds, it’s just Dupuis, her multi-tracked background vocals, and a sparse acoustic guitar. The New York City native even twangs the word “morning,” stretching into a third syllable and opening the door for a country-pop album when synthesizers go out of vogue.

The opener, “Into the Catacombs,” and the penultimate song, “Take Care,” are windows into an alternate universe in which Haunted Painting is a chamber-pop album, mostly unencumbered by her neon universe of electric instruments. Backed by a classical octet and joined by pair of male vocalists—Helado Negro’s Roberto Carlos Lange on the former, Pile frontman Rick Maguire on the latter—Dupuis’s voice is the centerpiece. It’s just two words floating with a pair of flutes, but Dupuis stretching “I care,” across the chorus is affecting enough to make you wish for more songs like this. These moments offer brief, beautiful peeks at one version of Sad13—a hidden world within Haunted Painting. They’re alluring in their own right, but in the end they’re merely parts of the larger self-portrait: the sad eyes to her sly smile, rounding out the complexity that makes her music so appealing in the first place.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sad13 - Haunted Painting Music Album Reviews Sad13 - Haunted Painting Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, October 02, 2020 Rating:

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