Philadelphia’s Domenica Pileggi released their debut record two springs ago as i tried to run away when i was 6, and the delicate but commanding songs stuck. Since then they’ve released handfuls of records short and long, including but certainly not confined to the comforting It’s So Nice; the warm, hopeful Not Avoiding You; and splits with Adult Mom and Cyberbully Mom Club. In the fall they changed the project’s name to Microsoft Saint, and with the shift they kept and refined all the resonance that’s made the project so incisive.
Microsoft Saint’s second release is chilling. The six-song EP bubblegum bubblegum swaps previous feelings of comfort for an uncloaked, raw apprehension—it feels like the furrowing of a brow, a deeply concentrated asking unto a world that might not answer back. From the outset, it’s more weighted than Pileggi’s previous releases, a huge bass line booming alongside heavy vocal harmonies in the opener, a song about feeling displaced from an old home. The new name couldn’t be a more uncanny fit, given how remnants of playfulness are matched here by a crushing religious urgency. Questions like “If I hailed Mary / would she even talk to me?” are pinned onto roomy, off-kilter guitar runs that feel like shards of Polvo songs. Pileggi’s voice picks up every emotion, cycling through pure calm into feverishness and back, moving into the red at moments like the fitful explosion where they cry, “I want it back.” A paint spill and a lost tape become heartbreaking—sometimes in this world even the seemingly smallest of downfalls merits a tantrum.
bubblegum bubblegum is out now, self-released on Microsoft Saint’s bandcamp.