Photo credit: Y-Control


“Feels authentic, from the era of Pixies, Breeders and Hole. Brilliant music, beautifully made.” – Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

“Absolutely massive!” – Jack Saunders, BBC Radio 1

“Big guitar hooks! I’m obsessed!” – Gemma Bradley, BBC Radio 1

Having already cemented her legacy with a breadth of wondrous outings, Northern Irish artist Sister Ghost has now announced her plans for her long-awaited debut album ‘Beyond The Water’, showcased by its riveting lead-track “Dark Matter“.

Recorded in Los Angeles in summer of 2022 with the producer Brad Wood (known for his work on Liz Phair’s ‘Exile on Guyville’ and Veruca Salt’s ‘American Thighs’), ‘Beyond The Water’ is the culmination of years of toil and grit across the underground scene in recent years. The record also features Jeff Friedl on drums, who has also played with A Perfect Circle and is currently the drummer with DEVO. Highlighted by its stellar new offering “Dark Matter”, her latest material offers a new era within her sound, one focusing on her progressive songwriting and empowering lyricism throughout.

Beyond The Water‘ is an amalgam of sorts, a portrait of Sister Ghost’s 20s as a queer woman from a tiny village in rural Ireland, and her experiences both near and far beyond the waters of home.

Speaking about “Dark Matter“, she said, “Dark Matter is one of my favourites from the album, it’s bittersweet and nostalgic and it’s where the album title is lifted from. Musically it’s influenced by some of my favourite big-sounding 80s bands like Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, The Call etc.

‘I wrote the lyrics for this song after being moved to tears watching the French film ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ by Céline Sciamma, as I really felt it echoed some of my own queer experiences. That’s also why there’s some French in the bridge section of the song, which translates to ‘my love, she glows in the fire’.

“The chorus phrase ‘dark matter, pour over me’ just came to me out of nowhere, and when I looked into it I found that dark matter in science is defined as being unseen or invisible, so then it made sense to me to use it as a device to convey the alienation and sadness queer people feel when they have to hide their true selves or walk away from relationships due to queer-specific circumstance.”

Derry based artist Shannon Delores O’Neill is Sister Ghost. With a background playing in bands from the age of 12, O’Neill saw Sister Ghost as an opportunity to do things her way for the first time. She began writing and demoing in her attic – singing and playing everything herself on an 8-track recorder.

Playing noisy, spectral art-rock with a pop & literary heart, Sister Ghost marshals a diverse set of influences in a singular way -from the ‘Seattle sound’ to the likes of Sonic Youth, Veruca Salt, Patti Smith and Kate Bush. Sister Ghost built a reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s most rousing new rock bands, winning Best Live Act at the NI Music Prize in 2019. O’Neill has also been recognised for mentoring and encouraging other female and gender expansive musicians to perform in the Northern Irish scene, having set up the Girls Rock! NI chapter in 2016.

Her lyrics are a mixture of highs and lows, of the lessons life shoves in our face and what we do with that. This album should take you on a little tour, with love, heartbreak, death, but mostly growth and resilience. Tinged with wistfulness and nostalgia at points but also looking forward. Of frustration and pain, to wonder, and the wistful curiosity that travels and goes through young adulthood. Whilst also fictional elements or those from art and film that I may have identified with, for example she wrote Dark Matter after being moved by watching the french film Portrait of a Lady on Fire as it echoes some of her own queer experiences.

Whilst one of the songs (album closer ‘Scent’) was written 10 years ago, most were written in the dusty attic of her childhood home in rural Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown of spring 2020. She would spend those strange lockdown days writing and recording demos after long walks or cycling around the local area, soaking up inspiration drawn from the nature around her, memories and wanderlust for the travel that couldn’t be at that time, reading books, watching films and sifting through 10 years worth of notebooks and journals.

Sister Ghost has had press in The Guardian, garnered high profile support slots with the likes of We Are Scientists, Ratboys, Shellac, Pussy Riot, Fontaines DC & more, as well as airplay on KEXP, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 1.


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