Sound of the Sirens: For All Our Sins
DMF Records – 26th May
With nothing new on the horizon from First Aid Kit (until the summer at least), the door is open for a new close harmony acoustic female folk duo to get their foot in the gap, and Exeter-based Sound of the Sirens, Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood, are decidedly in with a chance.
They’ve been singing together for a while since meeting at the Timepiece venue in Exeter where they both worked, but this is their debut album, kicking off in a sort of castanets-clicking flamenco-ish mood with the Spanish style nylon-strung guitar of Smokescreen, a sort of self-help mantra about rising above the negativity with which others surround you. It’s a good introduction to the way their contrasting voices work together, while the ensuing Mr Wilson about the uncertainty in embarking on a new relationship shows their softer, smokier side.
There’s often an almost breathless urgency in their delivery, especially in the choruses, as heard on Together Alone with its swirling violin courtesy of Phil Beer (Show of Hands) and the tumbling strummed we will overcome Celtic stomp of In This Time. Conversely, Cross Our Hearts is a far more relaxed almost dreamy number on which their Joni Mitchell influences shine through. They offer some interesting musical backdrops to their songs, as well as the Andalucian colours mentioned earlier, there are some Eastern European hints to Chaos with Abbe on mandolin while The Voice, a standout number addressing mental health issues and shaking off the monsters and the mad dog of depression, has a metronomic pulsing percussive rhythm with a reggae-shaded undercurrent.
It ends with a touch of experimentalism on the treated echoing vocals intro to The Circus before the song settles into a gradually building slow march rhythm on another lyric about questioning people’s motives.
The strong pop sensibility in evidence should bring them extensive airplay, consolidating on the groundwork laid by previous EPs, expanding their following beyond that already established by a solid live reputation. If you’ll excuse the misquote, Sirens could well indeed be golden.