Wednesday, 3 May 2017

SOUND OF THE SIRENS – ALBUM REVIEW

Sound Of The Sirens – For All Our Sins (DMF Records) 
Sound of the Sirens - For All Our Sins


Release Date: 26th May 2017

Well, here we are. A long, long time ago (in this galaxy) a relationship between this humble blog and Exeter duo Sound of the Sirens began and, long story short, here they are releasing their debut album, going on a UK headline tour and basically realising all their potential. This must be what it feels like to watch your kids grow up and do well (not that I’m claiming any kind of responsibility for their success, I’m just immensely proud and pleased for them).

Now, one thing I love about this album from the get-go is that there is absolutely no fat on it whatsoever. The whole experience is over in a little over half an hour but it’s the best half hour you can have with your clothes on (wearing clothes is optional though, just judge your surroundings OK?). So, we get underway in a flurry of castanets and tightly strummed guitars with recent single ‘Smokescreen’, a tale of turning negativity in to positivity all set to a bouncing rhythm with those trademark vocal harmonies front and centre. ‘Mr Wilson’ is up next as the South Devon sirens shift in to a more wistful, dusky mode with carefully plucked guitars intermingling with smooth, warm vocals – oh, those vocals. And on ‘Together Alone’ Abbe and Hannah flex their pop muscles with the melodies but give you a cheeky folk wink with their rapidly and eloquently delivered lyrics. Only three tracks in and if you’re not feeling uplifted and refreshed then you may want to visit your GP.

One difference on this album to previous releases by Sound of the Sirens is the addition of some subtle background musicianship to help the sound swell but that does nothing to detract or distract from the superb musical connection these two have built up over years of relentless gigging. ‘Grow’ continues on the positive theme, “you’re of the greatest worth, your heart so big it bursts” they sing and you can’t help but believe in them, whoever they’re singing to. There’s a dark side here as well though, ‘Chaos’ confirms with an eerie mandolin and rhyming triplets that use that folk training but the key changes give this a more indie-pop edge. And then they fight back on ‘In This Time’, an anthem for anyone who has ever felt like they are left alone to face a challenge, riling against the passive voice that shouts “I can only move as fast as the water chooses to carry me”. Live in the present, that’s the message. Be in the now.

Sound of the Sirens
The delicate guitars of ‘Cross Our Hearts’ remind me of an old favourite Avert Francis and the gently sweet chorus “When you look at me like that, I cannot say and I cannot do” is pure Indigo Girls in its supremely tight vocal harmonies and ability to bring a tear-sting to my eye every time. There’s a Laura Marling meets Wildwood Kin rumble to ‘Possibilities’ and you can’t help but feel this song is less about a romantic relationship than it is about the strength of the relationship between our two heroines as they pursued their musical dream. Surprisingly, a little reggae vibe creeps in to ‘The Voices’ but when the chorus cranks up you can’t help but feel this could be a strong single or ‘live lounge’ favourite with it’s potential for remix. Similarly, closing track ‘The Circus’ nods at what the future might hold for the duo as they play more with vocal effects and atmospherics to create something darker, more ambient and ripe for someone to lay over a skittish jungle beat.

This is one of those rare occasions when an album finishes leaving you wanting more and I’ll be very surprised if this isn’t knocking on the door for my album of the year at the end of 2017. Now, all that’s left is for you to get out to one of their upcoming gigs and see what Sound of the Sirens can do live – I can tell you that it’s pretty damn impressive. Oh, put some clothes on first though, nobody needs to see that.


Live Dates:

5th May – Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek
6th May – Louisiana, Bristol
7th May – Deaf Institute, Manchester
8th May – Bush Hall, London
9th May – The Hope, Brighton
10th May – PCSA, Plymouth w/Sadie Horler
11th May – Phoenix, Exeter
12th May – Petroc, Barnstaple
13th May – Guildhall, St Ives
18th May – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
19th May – Adelphi, Hull
20th May – Cluny 2, Newcastle
21st May – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
27th May – Royal William Yard Festival, Plymouth
17th May – Oceanfest, Croyde
23rd June – Blacksheep Festival, Bad Rappenau
25th June – Glastobury Festival, Pilton
15th July – Jurassic Fields, Bridport

22nd July – Jimmy’s Festival, Suffolk

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