Last updated on November 12th, 2023 at 09:46 am
Some people might say that including multiple instruments in a band could indicate a desire to cover something up, perhaps a lack of harmony or a weak band member’s skills. This is not true for Sister Species; their layering of instruments, from accordion and three trumpets to bass, drums, and guitar is quite intentional.
This blanketing of unique sounds provides a rich feel that adds to the vocals of lead singer, songwriter, and accordionist Emily Kastrul. “We could play our music with a three-piece band, but I think the additional instruments add a specialness to the songs,” said Kastrul when we chatted before the start of the show. She added that the accompanying instruments are not there just to be kitschy or cool, and after hearing the band play I have to agree.
The addition of the horns and the accordion add texture and interest to Kastrul’s smart and quirky lyrics. The band recently recorded their fourth album, due out sometime in 2024. This new album will likely be released on Kastrul’s record label Aura Vortex, though she is open to the idea of putting it out on a different label.
On this late October night, the band opened the evening of music to a decent crowd for a Wednesday night. The other acts on the lineup were Lana Leone and headliner Living Hour, an indie rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.
Sister Species opened with “Cover Me in Maple Leaves,” which will be on their upcoming record. They then quickly transitioned into another new song, “If I Had to Guess.” That tune was succeeded by “Light Exchanges,” the title track from their 2020 album. Sister Species’ songs are on the shorter side, allowing them to transition from song to song at a quick pace.
The song “Look at the Clouds” was followed by a pause as Emily chatted with the crowd, saying that “the opposite of clouds” was coming up, and by that, she meant the sea. Everyone laughed. “Well, maybe the sea and the clouds are similar” Kastrul stated. The band started up their song “Endless Sea,” which will also be included on the upcoming record.
“Take Everything & Scatter It” followed, then “Magnolia Buds.” The band got into the music with the upbeat new tune “Lena in the Bog,” which Emily exclaimed was about her lovely dog, Lena, who is now living in heaven. It felt like the band hit their groove with this song, perhaps since it included wonderful, buoyant drumming.
Guitarist Willow Waters brought additional vocals more often on songs that were performed towards the end of the set, which enhanced the music even more. The band wrapped up their set with “Heat Death (Hold Me Here),” a lighthearted-sounding song about a downer of a topic: the slow demise of the planet Earth.
Catch Sister Species when they play in the area, and you will be delighted by their chamber pop sound and clever lyrics.