How do you decompress from life on the road with your indie-rock band? You whack another solo pop album, played and produced entirely by a selection of badass female musicians, of course. Having captured hearts in Speedy Ortiz, ‘Haunted Painting’ sees Sadie Dupuis finally letting go of the grief that has worried at the back of her head, processing her emotions head on in order to create work that she describes as being ‘truer’ than anything before. As a result, ‘Haunted Painting’ makes for surprisingly light relief. ‘Good Grief’ pairs witty mediations on eye-rolling industry sexism with a jaunty surf-rock melody, while ‘Ghost (of a Good Time)’, a “party song about not going out” is the record’s most fervent jam, a sugary take on PC Music that trades the genre’s more unpalatable traits for a kitsch churchy organ that seems to tie in with the spooky image of the records cover. Much more Disney mansion than true horror story, even the record’s darkest moments hold a thread of optimism – proggy wig-out ‘The Crow’ looks the future straight in the eyes as it asks “Is it right to come of age in such a cruel place?” It’s an anthem for our worrying era, but if anybody has access to a higher power of divine survival witchcraft, it’s Sad13.
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