Sad13: Haunted Painting review – the singular vision of Sadie Depuis

The indie rock of Speedy Ortiz – Sadie Dupuis’s main vehicle – has often taken wayward musical paths. Dupuis’s music has DIY roots, but has long eyed up more grandiose sounds.

On her second solo outing as Sad13, the east coast Philadelphia transplant has given in to gaudy maximalism, piling on concepts and ambition – PC Music and orchestral pop are just two reference points. Take Care offers up a strings’n’flute fantasia while the Pavement-flavoured WTD? unleashes electric sitar.

Virtually everything here was written, played and sung by Dupuis, who called in a handful of female engineers as backup; her mother painted the cover and Dupuis runs the label. Perhaps an editor might have come in handy: Dupuis can lose sight of the wood here, for the production flourishes. But Haunted Painting recalls the singular visions of fellow travellers such as Tune-Yards (who guests) or St Vincent, although direct comparisons are unhelpful.

At heart this album deals with grief and personal loss, but a sense of playfulness abounds. Ghosts proliferate – Ruby Wand ponders how strange it is when someone you once slept with dies. Most glorious of all is Ghost (of a Good Time), an anthem to staying in that is part fandango, part air-punching bop.

Watch the video for Ghost (of a Good Time) by Sad13


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