The core of Dearest Sister is a very special creative duo: singer/keyboardist Andrea Hatanmaa and pianist Ylva Almcrantz. Their debut album "Collective Heart" is a result of the close and ongoing collaboration between the two young band co-leaders, but the pair are also complemented by a highly sensitive band. The range of songs is striking in its breadth, and songs can often take very unexpected turns as they evolve vast Nordic soundscapes alternate with "walls of sound". The engine room, giving propulsion to the band, is the groove from drummer Liam Amner: sometimes delicate, sometimes off-kilter and occasionally extraordinarily driven. Joakim Lissmyr plays bowed or plucked double bass, and flugelhornist Ellen Pettersson plays soft melodies which she extends and enhances electronically. And among this we hear an almost classical, enchanting brass interlude, or a synth line and a cluster enhanced by effects. One might start to wonder if there is too much going on. But the arrangements are so intelligently constructed, their components so carefully chosen and the execution so clear and organic that the music, despite its many elements, always seems approachable, complete, and coherent.
"Collective Heart" is a fascinating and emotionally affecting album. We find a joy in experimentation, and musical curiosity and open-mindedness. These are strong musicians who can offer the listener surprising contrasts and great authenticity. This is music in a constant state of evolution and discovery.