In a time when album art is unfortunately often reduced to a thumbnail, a larger vision of the cover of The Stand, Sister Speak’s stunning symphonic folk/alt pop-rock driven EP, is essential. It shows the band’s frontwoman, Canadian born, Southern California based singer/songwriter Sherri Anne, walking off in a blue hued landscape towards a quiet sunset with the desert floor cracking all around her.
That symbolizes the fragility of life even as she takes the reins of hope and empowerment and as she declares on the intense anthemic title track, “With my hands I wake, with my ears I take/With my mind I make a stand.” Working with keyboardist/producer Avli Avliav, Sherri generally starts each song with a sparse arrangement and a gentle, fragile vocal. Then the electronic percussion, blazing guitars of Sarven Manguiat and soaring synth textures help her exchange humble grace for blazing power, building each narrative towards a soaring, emphatic crescendo where the intensity of each message blazes forth.
Sister Speak takes us on a deep, fascinating journey, but there is a beautiful, soft spoken coda (the bonus track “Catch Me As I Fall,” which has a similar vibe to the Oscar winning song “Falling Slowly” and allows Sherri to showcase her truly folky side in tandem (and in glorious harmony) with male singer Tolan Shaw.