The female Simon & Garfunkel, but with a lot more energy and foot stomping – Andy Dixon takes in Sound of the Sirens at The Cellar bar
A bold statement? Why compare them? Well, because they have something in common…..talent!!
Simon & Garfunkel might actually be an unfair comparison, because these girl’s musical offerings have the same perfectly timed harmonies and tuneful songs but with bucket loads more energy and vibrancy in their deliverance that easily outshines their 1960s counterparts.
Attend a gig of Sound of the Sirens and I defy you to not be spellbound by the sheer bravado and spirit of their performance. If you find your foot isn’t tapping along at some point then you must be deaf, dumb or dead. You are likely to leave with the same feeling of elation from having watched a fantastic, uplifting movie.
Their songs, from their debut album ‘A Long Way To Fall’ and EP ‘Under The Stars’, have a hopeful theme to them; a celebration of womanhood and all its tribulations. Just two acoustic guitars, strummed with much gusto and the occasional change to mandolin, locked in with a kick bass drum and foot tambourine, which is more than enough for this duo to grab your ears. A drummer or bass player are not missed here, and would possibly detract from the bands dynamics from stomping guitar rhythms to gentle picking on the strings. On one of the slower, more poignant songs; ‘Anything Less’, you feel the young women are pouring their hearts out to the audience, allowing themselves to express their own failings and regrets of ending relationships and their desperate hopelessness. It’s a touching song that summarises the human condition.
The upbeat rhythms of ‘The Night Before’, which arrest your ears immediately, almost disguise the lyrical content of a doomed relationship, the sour taste of a love beginning to exceed its sell by date, accusations flying and resentments building, all sung with pleading despair. Along with ‘In This Time’ and ‘Who Are We’, these must be their most ‘commercially’ sounding numbers, cleverly structured songs that weave fluently from despair to jubilant defiance. One can well imagine these songs blasting out of Radio 2 on the Chris Evans breakfast show, a real spark of musical voltage to start the day.
These girls from Exeter, can really sing, their voices soar with every last ounce of breath in their lungs, no holding back or any sense of repression. The two voices complement each other beautifully; Hannah’s a husky soulful tone to Abbe’s higher, clearest sky notes. The timing and notation of their intricate harmonies is impeccable, lending itself to my comparisons of other greats such as Mumford & Sons, Indigo Girls and the recent First Aid Kit.
The other joy of their performance is their on stage banter and self mockery. Do artists need to take themselves so seriously? Not Sounds of the Sirens. It’s refreshingly obvious that these girls love what they do and have a deep fondness for each other, smiles exchanged during songs, both giving no less that 100% conviction to their own compositions. Their love for performance is truly infectious, lifting the mood of any depressed audience member. Who needs Prozac?
Next stop, The Watering Hole at Perranporth, with countless more throughout south west of the UK. Amongst many popular festivals the girls will also be playing the ultimate, electric muddy fields of Glastonbury Festival in June, a step further for Sound of the Sirens.
Jools Holland’s ears are sure to be twitching very soon, for the Sound of the Sirens are getting progressively louder.
‘Take it to the top, take it up, take it all the way, take it to the end of the line!!’
Words and photo by Andy Dixon
Sound of the Sirens, Cellar Bar, Boscombe, Friday 1st May 2015.